Selfies are probably one of the more annoying trends to emerge from the rise of smartphone cameras, but they’re a mostly harmless phenomenon. That doesn't mean they don't merit some form of study.
As Michael Zhang with PetaPixel reports, a fabricated 2014 story about the American Psychiatric Association identifying the mental disorder “selfitis” has apparently sparked actual research into the phenomenon.
The research team, consisting of Janarthanan Balakrishnan of the Thiagarajar School of Management in Madura, India, and Mark D. Griffiths of Nottingham Trent University in Nottingham, United Kingdom, revealed their findings in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction.
Their paper, “An Exploratory Study of ‘Selfitis’ and the Development of the Selfitis Behavior Scale,” attempted to quantify a person’s selfie taking behavior using a Selfitis Behavior Scale that the team created.
The bespoke grading system would gauge the level of selfitis behavior using objective criteria the team developed. Using elements like environmental enhancement, mood modification, and self confidence, the researchers then gauged 225 students according to the scale of borderline, acute, and chronic.
According to PetaPixel, “Of the participants, 34% were borderline, 40.5% were acute, and 25.5% were chronic. Men were found to exhibit selfitis at a higher rate than women — 57.5% compared to 42.5%, respectively. Younger people in the 16-20-year-old age group were also found to be the most susceptible.”
In an interview with the New York Post, 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 behaviors…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 behavior and what can be done to help people who are the most affected.”