Hikikomori is a form of social withdrawal that is commonly described as having an onset during adolescence, a life stage when other psychiatric problems can also emerge. This study aimed to adapt the 25-item Hikikomori Questionnaire (HQ-25) for the Italian adolescent population, examining its psychometric properties; associations between hikikomori and psychoticism, depression, anxiety, problematic internet use (PIU), psychotic-like experiences (PLEs), to confirm convergent validity of the HQ-25; and the interaction effect between symptoms of hikikomori and PIU in predicting PLEs. Two-hundred and twenty-one adolescents participated in the study. Measures included the HQ-25, the Psychoticism subscale of the Personality Inventory for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the Depression and Anxiety subscales of the Brief Symptom Inventory, the Internet Disorder Scale, and the Brief Prodromal Questionnaire. Data showed a satisfactory fit for a three-factor model for the HQ-25 that is consistent with the original study on the HQ-25. Three factors (socialization, isolation, and emotional support) were associated with psychopathology measures. Six participants reported lifetime history of hikikomori. Symptoms of hikikomori and PIU did not interact in predicting PLEs. This is the first study to validate the HQ-25 in a population of adolescents. Findings provide initial evidence of the adequate psychometric properties of the Italian version of the HQ-25 for adolescents.
Keywords: social avoidance; social isolation; social withdrawal; young people; youth.