Are you on Tinder? What is your reason for being there? Are you looking for love, or a hookup, or just playing it as a game when you’re bored? No matter why you’re on there, a new study suggests that Tinder users, regardless of their gender, have a poorer self-image than non-users.
The study, presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association in Denver, touches upon the psychological effects of the popular dating app, Tinder. Apart from having a poorer self-image, it also found that they were less satisfied with their bodies and appearance. Also, male Tinder users were found to have generally lower levels of self-esteem then women.
Image source: Tinder
For the study, researchers asked 1,044 women and 273 men, mostly college-going students, to fill out questionnaires about how they generally felt about themselves. Questions like How likely are you to make physical comparisons to others? and How satisfied are you with your thighs? were asked to help the researchers to determine their body image and self-esteem. The participants were also asked about their body socio-cultural factors, perceived objectification, and psychological well-being too. At the end of their questionnaire, they were asked whether or not they used Tinder.
Around 10 percent of the study participants said that they had used the dating app. As compared to non-users, Tinder users were found to have lower levels of self-worth, being less satisfied with their faces and appearance, and more ashamed of their bodies. The researchers found that these users were also more likely to think of themselves as being objectified, to compare themselves with others with regards to looks, to internalize societal ideals about beauty, and to monitor how they looked constantly. This was true for both men and women.
Dr. Jessica Strubel, from University of North Texas, co-led the research. She said,
“We found that being actively involved with Tinder, regardless of the user’s gender, was associated with body dissatisfaction, body shame, body monitoring, internalization of societal expectations of beauty, comparing oneself physically to others, and reliance on media for information on appearance and attractiveness.”
Trent Petrie, co-author of the paper and professor in the psychology department at the University of North Texas, said,
“If they used Tinder, they reported more negative scores on all of our measures. We thought that was pretty interesting, given the fact that gender usually plays a role in how women and men respond to these types of questionnaires.”
However, according to the researchers, the most fascinating result from the study was that men, not women, Tinder users had the lowest levels of self-esteem.
Researchers speculate that this might be due to the fact that more men use Tinder than women.
“The men, in essence, are put in a position that women often find themselves in, certainly in the dating scene: They’re now being evaluated and are being determined whether or not somebody is interested in them [based on their looks],” Petrie said. “Men may be more likely to get more swipe-lefts. And that can take a toll, perhaps, on those young men.”
Although using Tinder might make them insecure about themselves, they were also tempted to believe something better might turn up with the next swipe of the screen. A larger number of women were in the study because it focused primarily on women.
Dr Strubel added,
“Although current body image interventions primarily have been directed toward women, our findings suggest that men are equally and negatively affected by their involvement in social media.”
The researchers added that more study is needed in order to investigate the long-term psychological effects of social media platforms like Tinder.
So there you have it. If you’re a Tinder user, you might want to check if you have self-esteem and body image issues, no?
Featured image source: Tinder