Tinder users may feel less satisfied with their bodies and appearance, and male Tinder users tend to have lower self-esteem than non-Tinder users, according to a study presented at the annual conference of the American Psychological Association.
Tinder, a dating app that allows users to quickly review dozens of profiles (a finger swipe to the right indicates interest and a swipe to the left is a definitive sign of rejection), has been criticized for promoting a superficial dating culture. An article in magazine Vanity Fair blamed Tinder for bringing about a “dating apocalypse” and for treating dating as a never-ending competition. Some critics worry that Tinder—which has about 50 million active users worldwide—creates a constant quest to find the “best” date, treating people as commodities rather than looking for deeper connections or relationships.
How Tinder Affects Mental Health
The study looked at 1,044 women and 273 men, most of whom were undergraduate students. Participants completed questionnaires about their body image, mental health, perceived objectification, and demographic factors.
About 10% of participants said they were Tinder users. This group reported lower overall satisfaction with their bodies and appearance. Specifically, Tinder users were more likely to embrace societal expectations of beauty, to compare their appearance to others, to draw information about attractiveness from the media, and to experience body image issues.
Does Tinder Cause Self-Esteem Problems?
The study does not prove that Tinder causes self-esteem problems, though it does establish a correlation. Its authors suggest the app may make users feel disposable and hyper-aware of appearance issues, but they recognize the possibility that people who already have low self-esteem may be more likely to use Tinder. Because the study also found that Tinder users pay more attention to messages from media about body image, the authors also say it is possible the other way around: people who take body image and self-esteem cues from media may also be more likely to use Tinder.
- Sales, N. J. (2015, September). Tinder and the dawn of the dating apocalypse. Retrieved from http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/08/tinder-hook-up-culture-end-of-dating
- Tinder: Swiping self-esteem? (2016, August 4). Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2016/08/tinder-self-esteem.aspx
© Copyright 2016 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.