Do you loooove taking selfies? Are you a pro with the front-facing camera? Does every occasion — lunch with a friend, passing a dog in the street, going to the bathroom — call for a selfie? Then you might have a mental disorder. This is not a joke.
"Selfitis" is a real, genuine mental disorder that makes people feel compelled to take photos of themselves and post them to social media constantly.
It’s a real affliction. Researchers from the Thiagarajar School of Management in Madura, India and Nottingham Trent University in the UK have published a study where they examined people’s selfie habits and developed a Selfitis Behavior Scale.
Although an article from 2014 claiming that the APA established “selfitis” as a mental disorder was a hoax, this study was real.
There are three levels of selfitis that were actually defined by that fake study, but the real researchers also actually used these guidelines:
Borderline selfitis: “taking photos of one’s self at least three times a day but not posting them on social media.”
Acute selfitis: “taking photos of one’s self at least three times a day and posting each of the photos on social media.”
Chronic selfitis: “uncontrollable urge to take photos of one’s self round the clock and posting the photos on social media more than six times a day.”
Do you fall somewhere on this spectrum?
The study categorized 225 students from two Indian universities into these three categories, and then they conducted interviews that helped them develop their own scale.
The Selfitis Behavior Scale (SBS) identifies six categories that drive selfie-taking:
Environment enhancement (for ex. “taking selfies provides better memories about the occasion and the experience”)
Social competition (for ex. “taking different selfie poses helps increase my social status”)
Attention seeking (“by posting selfies, I expect my friends to appraise me”)
Mood modification (“I am able to reduce my stress level by taking selfies”)
Self-confidence (“I feel confident when I take a selfie”)
Subjective conformity (“When I don’t take selfies, I feel detached from my peer group”).
Why was India chosen as the locale for this study?
Well, according to the New York Post, “the country has the highest number of Facebook users and also the highest number of deaths from trying to take a selfie in a dangerous location.”
Dr. Mark Griffiths from Nottingham Trent University, who helped run the study, said they have now confirmed the existence of selfitis with this study.
And the SBS, that scale, is the first system developed that is able to assess whether or not someone has the condition.
Do you have selfitis? It might be time to answer these questions and find out once and for all…