Taking too many selfies? You may be suffering from selfitis, an official mental disorder

Dec 28, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Taking too many selfies? You may be suffering from selfitis, an official mental disorder

Dec 28, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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A few years ago, there was a story saying that taking too many selfies means you have a mental disorder named “selfitis”. It turned out to be a hoax, but now it’s actually confirmed – obsessive selfie-taking is a mental disorder and an addictive behavior. The fake news inspired psychologist to actually research the phenomenon, and they came to some interesting conclusions related to excessive selfie-taking.

Researchers from Nottingham Trent University and Thiagarajar School of Management studied a group of 400 individuals from India. They chose this country because it has the highest rate of selfie-related deaths, so I’d say the choice was pretty logical.

The researchers developed a Selfitis Behavior Scale to determine how strong the condition is. According to the results, selfitis occurs more commonly in men than women: 57.5% of male and 42.5% female participants had this disorder. Then, 34% participants were found to have borderline selfitis, 40.5% had acute, and chronic selfitis hit 25.5% people from the focus group. Not surprisingly, the age group of 16 to 20-years-old was hit by selfitis most (56%). They’re followed by 21 to 25-year-olds (34%), and those over 25 appear less likely to have this disorder. The majority of participants said they take between one and four selfies a day and post them on social media at least once a day.

According to the study, there are several factors related to selfitis. People who obsessively take selfies and post them on social media seek attention, want to conform to their group or want to enhance their environment. They also take and post selfies for social competition or to improve their mood. Finally, they are likely to use selfies to boost their self-confidence.

One of the researchers, Dr. Janarthanan Balakrishnan told the New York Post that those with selfitis typically suffer from a lack of self-confidence. Consequently, they are trying to “fit in” with those around them, and even “may display symptoms similar to other potentially addictive behaviors.” He hopes that further research will be carried out about selfitis. According to him, it could help us understand more about the reasons behind this behavior and the ways to help those who are most affected.

Personally, I’ve always believed there must be some underlying mental issue connected with obsessively taking and posting selfies. And like Dr. Balakrishnan, I also hope further research will be conducted on this topic. I’m not surprised by the findings that the young are more affected by selfitis. I am surprised, however, that men are more affected than women (at least in this study). My Instagram and Twitter feed have way more selfies of girls than guys. After all, women are generally expected to look good and display themselves in the best light, so I assume they are more likely to need a boost of self-confidence.

Now, do you think you might suffer from selfitis? Or someone you know, perhaps? The researchers created a set of 20 questions that can help you determine whether selfitis hits you and to which extent. Answer these questions by grading them 1 to 5 (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree). The higher the score, the greater the likelihood of selfitis:

  1. Taking selfies gives me a good feeling to better enjoy my environment
  2. Sharing my selfies creates healthy competition with my friends and colleagues
  3. I gain enormous attention by sharing my selfies on social media
  4. I am able to reduce my stress level by taking selfies
  5. I feel confident when I take a selfie
  6. I gain more acceptance among my peer group when I take selfie and share it on social
  7. media
  8. I am able to express myself more in my environment through selfies
  9. Taking different selfie poses helps increase my social status
  10. I feel more popular when I post my selfies on social media
  11. Taking more selfies improves my mood and makes me feel happy
  12. I become more positive about myself when I take selfies
  13. I become a strong member of my peer group through selfie postings
  14. Taking selfies provides better memories about the occasion and the experience
  15. I post frequent selfies to get more ‘likes’ and comments on social media
  16. By posting selfies, I expect my friends to appraise me
  17. Taking selfies instantly modifies my mood
  18. I take more selfies and look at them privately to increase my confidence
  19. When I don’t take selfies, I feel detached from my peer group
  20. I take selfies as trophies for future memories
  21. I use photo editing tools to enhance my selfie to look better than others

You can find these questions and a more detailed explanation at the end of the research paper. How was your score?

[International Journal of Mental Health Addiction via Digital Trends, the New York Post]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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13 responses to “Taking too many selfies? You may be suffering from selfitis, an official mental disorder”

  1. stewart norton Avatar
    stewart norton

    It’s been a mental disorder for decades it’s called narcissism.

    1. Rayelle Bishop Avatar
      Rayelle Bishop

      We all take or want the best photographs. I usually do them because someone asks for one and I do music. Most of the time I don’t spend a lot of time on narcisissm. Because I believe everyone should look their best.

  2. Clarence Hemeon Avatar
    Clarence Hemeon

    No it is called Narcissistic Personality Disorder

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder

  3. Darren Jenks Avatar
    Darren Jenks

    What an utter load of shite! Trying to justify being a vein, self centred attention seeker, by saying it’s a Mental Health issue is a load of rubbish.

    1. Alexander L. Harris Avatar
      Alexander L. Harris

      Explanation through analysis is not justification.

  4. Dave Bottoms Avatar
    Dave Bottoms

    It’s so nice to hear that Justin Trudeau’s illness has finally been diagnosed.

    1. Jeff Stewart Avatar
      Jeff Stewart

      Except that they’re not Justin’s selfies, but others who pose with him and take the photos on their phones.

    2. Dave Bottoms Avatar
      Dave Bottoms

      Jeff Stewart . He’s still an idiot. ;)

    3. Jeff Stewart Avatar
      Jeff Stewart

      He’d be an even bigger idiot if he refused to pose for selfies with the citizens of Canada.

  5. Raphael Web Avatar
    Raphael Web

    Just Narcissism.

  6. ext237 Avatar
    ext237

    Oh great, yet another diagnosis I have to live with.

  7. Rick Avatar
    Rick

    Are University researchers creating nonsensical studies just to get themselves published (i.e. noticed) really any different?

  8. madhuri bourasi Avatar
    madhuri bourasi

    Sharing of sweet selfie creates a healthy environment