This is an evaluation study of a pilot multicomponent program with animal-assisted therapy (aat) for socially withdrawn youth with or without mental health problems in Hong Kong. There were fifty-six participants. Decreased level of social anxiety, and increased levels of perceived employability and self-esteem across two withdrawn groups were observed. When comparing those who did and did not receive the aat component(s), however, aat did not seem to have additional impacts on outcomes. The qualitative data collected through interviews with ten participants reflected that the aat component was attractive because the nonhuman animals made them feel respected and loved. This pilot study showed that a multicomponent program with a case management model correlated with increased levels of self-esteem and perceived employability, and a decreased level of social interaction anxiety. In addition, using nonhuman animals in a social service setting appears to be a good strategy to engage difficult-to-engage young people.
FuruhashiT.TsudaH.OgawaT.SuzukiK.ShimizuM.TeruyamaJ.Pionnié-DaxN.État des lieux, points communs et différences entre des jeunes adultes retirants sociaux en France et au Japon (Hikikomori)L’Evolution Psychiatrique2013782249266
FineA. H.FineA. H.Incorporating animal-assisted therapy into psychotherapy: Guidelines and suggestions for therapistsHandbook on animal-assisted therapy: Theoretical foundations and guidelines for practice2006San DiegoAcademic Press167206
KatoT. A.TatenoM.ShinfukuN.FujisawaD.TeoA. R.SartoriusN.KanbaS.Does the ‘hikikomori’ syndrome of social withdrawal exist outside Japan? A preliminary international investigationSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiolgy20124710611075
KondoN.SakaiM.KurodaY.KiyotaY.KitabataY.KurosawaM.General condition of hikikomori (prolonged social withdrawal) in Japan: Psychiatric diagnosis and outcome in mental health welfare centresInternational Journal of Social Psychiatry20135917986
Koyama A. Miyake Y. Kawakami N. Tsuchiya M. Tachimori H. Takeshima T. & World Mental Health Japan Survey GroupLifetime prevalence, psychiatric comorbidity and demographic correlates of “hikikomori” in a community population in JapanPsychiatry Research201017616974
KrugerK. A.SerpellJ.FineA. H.Animal-assisted interventions in mental health: Definitions and theoretical foundationsHandbook on animal-assisted therapy: Theoretical foundations and guidelines for practice2010AmsterdamElsevier3346
WongP. W. C.LiT. M. H.ChanM.LawY. W.ChauM.ChengC.YipP. S. F.The prevalence and correlates of severe social withdrawal (hikikomori) in Hong Kong: A cross-sectional telephone-based survey studyInternational Journal of Social Psychiatry2015614330342