Instead of getting annoyed with that friend who is always posting pouting gym selfies, perhaps we should feel sorry for them instead.
Researchers have suggested that ‘selfitis’ – or the obsessive taking of selfies – is a real, measurable condition, according to researchers at Nottingham Trent University.
Sufferers tend to have distinctive traits such as self-confidence, attention seeking and social competition.
As yet, there is no cure.
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.
But researchers have looked into the phenomenon, after other technology-related disorders such as ‘nomophobia’ or the phobia of not having a mobile phone to hand have been studied.
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The paper, written by Dr Mark Griffiths, of Nottingham Trent University, and Madurai-based Janarthanan Balakrishnan, 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.’
Through the study, which was carried out with 400 participants from India as the country has the most users on Facebook, a Selfitis Behaviour Scale was produced which looks at which factors provoke the condition.
These included self-confidence, attention seeking and social competition.
Do you have selfitis? Take the test yourself
The Selfitis Behaviour Scale is measured by asking people how much they agree with the following statements, with one being strongly disagree and five being strongly agree.
The higher someone’s score, the greater the likelihood is of them suffering from selfitis.
:: 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 do not 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.