Expanding Sources of Recognition: Towards an Experience-Driven Framework for Reengaging Hikikomori and Semi-hikikomori

Xuebing Su, Tim M.H. Li, Paul W.C. Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Hikikomori, also known as young people with prolonged social withdrawal behaviours (YPSW), is a pronounced and growing youth issue. The aims of the present study were to (1) introduce an experience-driven (ED) framework informed by recognition theory and the expanded notion of work model, and (2) examine how the ED framework can add value to interpreting the vulnerabilities of hikikomori/semi-hikikomori, and to strengthening the delivery of reengagement interventions. Six participants were purposively selected based on the stages of their user journey in a Regain Momentum Program, namely early, intermediate, and final stages of user journey. With the use of thematic analysis, the study thoroughly examined six transcripts collected from post-intervention individual interviews. The results showed that hikikomori/semi-hikikomori are deprived of self- and social recognition due to a lack of a socially recognized status and paid work experiences. Applying the ED framework, social workers were capable of facilitating hikikomori/semi-hikikomori to leave their comfort zone, enter a secured comfort zone, rebuild connections, enhance self-efficacy, and care for non-human beings through providing interest- and work-based activities. The study provides empirical evidence to elaborate how the ED framework can inform future practice and research on reengaging hikikomori/semi-hikikomori.

Original languageEnglish
JournalChild and Adolescent Social Work Journal
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sep 2021


  • Expanded notion of work
  • Experience-driven framework
  • Hikikomori
  • Prolonged social withdrawal behaviours
  • Recognition
  • Semi-hikikomori

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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