Selfitis, or obsessively taking selfies, is indeed a thing.
If you can’t get through the day without taking a bunch of selfies, you might be suffering from a mental disorder called – surprise, surprise – Selfitis. If that gave you a mini-heart attack and made you drop your smartphone in shock, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Or not. It went viral in 2014 and turned out to be a hoax. Still, Janarthan Balakrishnan and Mark D. Griffitsh decided to do a study to find out if there’s an ounce of truth to it. The pair of curious psychiatrists conducted the research in two phases with Indian students aged 16 – 30 years, first with 224 and then with 734 respondents.
They found that while the “condition” isn’t as widespread as the hoax made it seem, it was possible to assess it with the help of a “Selfitis Behavior Scale.” The objective was to help mental health professionals figure out if there an obsessive disorder that can indeed be connected to this era’s selfie fixation.
According to the study titled “An Exploratory Study of “Selfitis” and the Development of the Selfitis Behavior Scale”, there are six categories that suggest obsessive behavior:
- Environmental Enhancement (to help remember/immerse in the moment or environment)
- Social Competition (The need or desire to get “likes” on social media)
- Attention Seeking (on social media, in relation to above)
- Mood Modification (taking selfies bring a relaxation or improved mood)
- Self-Confidence (attention and complements give a feeling of improved self-image)
- Subjective Conformity (impression that selfies are necessary to gain acceptance of friends and groups)
All the respondents said taking selfies was a daily habit. Some even take eight and above per day, and 40% of them would post at least one to three of these selfies per day. The survey revealed that 34% were borderline, 40% were acute, and 25.5% were chronic. Interestingly, men were also found to be more susceptible to obsessively take selfies at 52% than women at 42.50%. This is all so incredibly fascinating. I mean, people are obsessed with selfies; Kim Kardashian even made a video about how to take a better selfie. The most popular accounts on Instagram are of a ton of fitness people who shoot selfies all day and night. Crazy, huh? It’s almost like Nikon needs to start heavily marketing their Selfie Stick.
Wondering if you’re afflicted with selfitis? Answer the following questions on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being in strong agreement with the statement.
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 selfies and share them on social media
7. I am able to express myself more in my environment through selfies
8. Taking different selfie poses helps increase my social status
9. I feel more popular when I post my selfies on social media
10. Taking more selfies improves my mood and makes me feel happy
11. I become more positive about myself when I take selfies
12. I become a strong member of my peer group through selfie postings
13. Taking selfies provides better memories about the occasion and the experience
14. I post frequent selfies to get more ‘likes’ and comments on social media
15. By posting selfies, I expect my friends to appraise me
16. Taking selfies instantly modifies my mood
17. I take more selfies and look at them privately to increase my confidence
18. When I don’t take selfies, I feel detached from my peer group
19. I take selfies as trophies for future memories
20. I use photo editing tools to enhance my selfie to look better than others
The study says the higher your score is, the more likely you are to have Selfitis.