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Psychologists claim "taking selfies" might be a genuine mental disorder

24 Dec 2017 | By Shiladitya Ray
Study: "Selfitis" might be a real mental disorder

A joint study conducted by the Nottingham Trent University, UK, and the Thiagarajar School of Management (TSM), Tamil Nadu claims that "selfitis" or an obsession with taking selfies may actually be a real mental disorder.

The term "selfitis" emerged in 2014 after hoaxes on social media claimed that the American Psychiatric Association had classified it as a mental disorder.

Here's more.

In context: Study: "Selfitis" might be a real mental disorder

24 Dec 2017Psychologists claim "taking selfies" might be a genuine mental disorder

Existence of selfitis confirmed

"We have now appeared to confirm its [seflitis'] existence and developed the world's first Selfitis Behaviour Scale to assess the condition," said Mark Griffith from Nottingham Trent University, one of the authors of the study.
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A brief outline of the study

StudyA brief outline of the study

The study used a scale called the "Selfitis Behaviour Scale" (SBS) to test for the severity of selfitis.

The SBS was developed after focus group interviews carried out with 225 students returned potential areas of interest and enquiry.

The study was conducted and tested via a survey of 400 Indian university students, chosen from among 734, who were identified with having selfitis symptoms.

Why choose Indian students for the study?

Participants chosen for the study were based in India because India has the largest number of Facebook users, as well as the highest number of reported selfie deaths - 76 out of reported 127 selfie deaths worldwide in 2016.

InvestigationInvestigating borderline, acute and chronic selfitis

The 2014 hoax story categorized three selfitis intensities - borderline, acute, and chronic.

Borderline was defined as taking selfies at least three times a day without social media posting.

Acute was defined to be similar to borderline, but involved posting of each selfie on social media.

Six and above selfie posts per day was defined as chronic.

The study investigated theses categories using SBS.

Selfitis symptoms resemble those of other addictive behaviours

"Typically, those with the condition suffer from a lack of self-confidence and are seeking to 'fit in' with those around them, and may display symptoms similar to other potentially addictive behaviours," said the other author of the study, Janarthanan Balakrishnan from TSM.
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FindingsThe findings of the study

Using the aforementioned definitions, the study found 136, 162, and 102 cases of borderline, acute, and chronic selfitis among the 400 students identified as belonging to one of the three categories.

Furthermore, it identified six motivating factors for selfitis behavior - attention seeking, social competition, mood modification, subjective conformity with social groups, self-confidence enhancement, and environmental enhancement.