Can’t stop taking pictures of yourself? You might have ‘selfitis'

Selfitis, or the obsessive taking of selfies, appears to be a genuine condition, research suggests.

Can’t stop taking pictures of yourself? You might have ‘selfitis'

The term was first coined in 2014 as part of a spoof news article claiming selfitis was to be deemed a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association.

But researchers have looked into the phenomenon, after other technology-related disorders such as “nomophobia” or the phobia of not having a mobile phone to hand, have been studied.

Mark Griffiths, of Nottingham Trent University’s psychology department, said: “A few years ago, stories appeared in the media claiming that the condition of selfitis was to be classed as a mental disorder.

“While the story was revealed to be a hoax, it didn’t mean that the condition of selfitis didn’t exist. We have now appeared to confirm its existence and developed the world’s first Selfitis Behaviour Scale to assess the condition.”

Through the study, which was carried out with 400 participants from India, as the country has the most users on Facebook, the Selfitis Behaviour Scale was developed, which can be used to determine how severely people are afflicted by the condition.

Using a scale of one, for strongly disagree, to five for strongly agree, people can determine how acute their selfitis is by responding to statements such as “sharing my selfies creates healthy competition with my friends and colleagues”, and “I feel more popular when I post my selfies on social media”.

Researcher Janarthanan Balakrishnan said: “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.

“Now the existence of the condition appears to have been confirmed, it is hoped that further research will be carried out to understand more about how and why people develop this potentially obsessive behaviour, and what can be done to help people who are the most affected.”

Diagnosis with selfitis behaviour scale

The Selfitis Behaviour Scale is measured by asking people how much they

agree with the following statements, with one being ‘strongly disagree’ and five being ‘strongly agree’.

The higher someone’s score, the greater the likelihood is of them suffering from selfitis.

* Taking selfies gives me a good feeling to better enjoy my environment.

* Sharing my selfies creates healthy competition with my friends and colleagues.

* I gain enormous attention by sharing my selfies on social media.

* I am able to reduce my stress level by taking selfies.

* I feel confident when I take a selfie.

* I gain more acceptance among my peer group when I take selfies and share them on social media.

* I am able to express myself more in my environment through selfies.

* Taking different selfie poses helps increase my social status.

* I feel more popular when I post my selfies on social media.

* Taking more selfies improves my mood and makes me feel happy.

* I become more positive about myself when I take selfies.

* I become a strong member of my peer group through selfie postings.

* Taking selfies provides better memories about the occasion and the experience.

* I post frequent selfies to get more “likes” and comments on social media.

* By posting selfies, I expect my friends to appraise me.

* Taking selfies instantly modifies my mood.

* I take more selfies and look at them privately to increase my confidence.

* When I do not take selfies, I feel detached from my peer group.

* I take selfies as trophies for future memories.

* I use photo-editing tools to enhance my selfie to look better than others.

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