Tinder users may have more chances of getting a date, but low self-esteem might also cripple them, a new study suggests in a report by TIME magazine.
Researchers at the yearly American Psychological Association convention presented a study on the psychological effects of Tinder, the dating app that has gained global popularity, as well as notoriety.
In the study, the researchers surveyed a group of 1,300 Americans, mostly college students, and asked them to rate how they generally saw themselves by filling out questionnaires and self-reports.
Questions included the likes of how satisfied they were with their thighs or how likely they were to compare themselves to others physically. These gave the researchers insight on body image and self-esteem.
At the end of the questionnaires, the respondents had to answer if they used Tinder.
Results showed that Tinder users had lower levels of self-worth compared to those who did not use the dating app, reporting being less satisfied with how they looked and were more ashamed of their bodies. Those on the app were also more likely to objectify themselves sexually, internalize society’s standards of beauty, compare their appearances to their peers and regularly monitor their images, the researchers found.
The findings were true for both men and women. Trent Petrie, a co-author on the study and psychology professor at the University of North Texas, says,
If they used Tinder, they reported more negative scores on all of our measures.
He adds, “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.”
While women usually feel the worst about themselves, it turned out that it was men who used Tinder that had the lowest levels of self-esteem.
The researchers speculate that this may be because there are more women than men on the dating app. Previous studies have shown that women are more particular about swiping, compared to men, who swipe quite liberally. But this comes at a risk, as saying yes so often comes with a much higher chance of rejection.
Petrie says, “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],” He theorizes that men are more likely to get rejected on the app, which can probably take a toll.
Future studies are on the horizon, as the researchers intend to take a closer look at how the reasons people use Tinder — whether to see who matches with them, to hook up or to find long-term partners — affects their psychological health. Research from other groups indicates that Tinder users are mostly there for entertainment, which may shed some light on these findings.
This study doesn’t determine whether or not Tinder makes people feel worse about their appearances, whether people with already low self-esteem use it more, or any other reasons. Petrie says, “But in general, we can say that when you use any of these current social media platforms, you’re putting yourself out there for potential evaluation.”