Thailand study: Like taking selfies? You’re probably really lonely or have mental health problems

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Alongside som tam and gossiping, the selfie is a national obsession in Thailand.

Of course the #selfie craze isn’t exclusive to Thailand but since the invention of the smartphone, it seems that many people here are unable to get through a single day without snapping a photo of themselves and uploading it to social media.

However, researchers in Bangkok have warned that people who regularly take selfies are likely to be lonely can could even have serious mental health issues.

Researchers also found that people who take a lot of selfies have problems in forming relationships and more likely to attention seekers and vain.

A team from the National Institute of Development Administration in Bangkok surveyed 300 students, assessing their personality habits and looking at how often they took selfies.

The participants were mainly female and were aged between 21-24 years old. As part of the study they were also interviewed to see if they displayed any narcissistic or attention seeking behaviour or to see they felt lonely.

The study found that an overwhelming majority of participants spent more than 50 percent of their free time using social media apps on their smartphone.

Researchers looked at “the degree of selfie-liking” and found that there was a link between the amount selfies taken to the amount of time spent on social media, with those taking the most selfies also spending the most time on the likes of Facebook and Instagram.

The researchers, lead by Dr Peerayuth Charoensukmongkol, believe that men and women who exhibit personalities of loneliness take more selfies and share them on social media in order to seek approval or recognition from others.

selfie

Experts found that people who take a lot of selfies do so in order to seek approval from others

“Not only do individuals who become obsessed with taking selfies tend to feel that their personal lives and psychological well-being are deteriorated, but they may feel that relationship qualities with others are also impaired,” Dr Peerayuth.

Some experts have argued that selfie-taking behavior can be linked to mental illness; however, psychologists suggest that it is not an addiction but a symptom of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), which occurs when an individual constantly checks his or her appearance and tries to take perfect photos to impress others.

“This could be the reason why individuals who like to take selfies tend to focus too much on themselves and express less concern about others, added Dr Peerayuth.

“While many people consider taking selfies to be an enjoyable activity, those who take selfies need to concern themselves with the unhealthy behaviors that might be associated with this activity as well”, he concluded.

The study was published in The Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace.

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