‘Selfitis’ – or the obsessive taking of selfies – appears to be a genuine mental condition, research has suggested. And now psychologists have devised a test which you can take to see where you fit on the ‘selfitis’ scale.
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. Following this, researchers at Nottingham Trent University and Thiagarajar School of Management in Madurai, India, investigated whether there was any truth in the phenomenon.
After confirming that ‘selfitis’ does indeed exist, they tested out a framework for assessing its severity on volunteers. They say there are three categories – ‘borderline’, ‘acute’ and ‘chronic’.
Borderline selfitis occurs when people take selfies at least three times a day, but do not post them on social media. Someone is classed as acute if as many are taken and the pictures are actually posted online.
You are a chronic selfie-taker if you feel an uncontrollable urge to take photos of yourself around the clock, posting them to Facebook and Instagram more than six times a day.
Scroll down to take the test
Researchers devised a test so you can find out if you have ‘borderline’, ‘acute’ or ‘chronic’ selfitis (stock image)
The paper, written by Dr Mark Griffiths from Nottingham Trent University said: ‘This study arguably validates the concept of selfitis and provides benchmark data for other researchers to investigate the concept more thoroughly and in different contexts.
‘The concept of selfie-taking might evolve over time as technology advances, but the six identified factors that appear to underlie selfitis in the present study are potentially useful in understanding such human-computer interaction across mobile electronic devices.’
TAKE THE TEST TO SEE WHERE YOU ARE ON THE SELFITIS BEHAVIOUR SCALE
Read the the statements below and for each one give yourself a rating of 1 to 5, where 5 is strongly agree, and 1 is strongly disagree.
The scores are as follows:
- 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 don’t 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
How the research was carried out
The scale, which runs from one to 100, was compiled after tests on focus groups with 200 participants that looked at at what factors drove the condition of selfitis. Then, the team tested out the scale by carrying out a survey on 400 participants.
The research, which was published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, took part in India, the country that has the most Facebook users. India has had the highest number of selfie-related deaths, where a person dies while trying to take a picture of themselves, according to research published in July.
The study, which looked at figures from March 2014 and September 2016, discovered the country accounted for 60 per cent of all such mortalities. The physiologists found that typical ‘selfitis’ sufferers were attention seekers and often lacked self confidence. They constantly post images of themselves in the hope that they boost their social credentials and to feel part of a group.
The paper authors wrote: ‘As with internet addiction, the concepts of selfitis and selfie addiction started as a hoax, but recent research including the present paper has begun to empirically validate its existence.’