Tinder users have worse self-image than those who don't use dating app
Published 04/08/2016 | 21:51
If you look for love on Tinder, the person you are least likely to fancy is yourself, new research suggests.
Psychologists found that both men and women who turn to the popular dating app tend to have a poorer self image than non-users.
They were less satisfied with their bodies and appearance, a study showed.
In addition, men alone who used Tinder appeared to have generally lower levels of self esteem.
Tinder, which has a reported 50 million active users worldwide, allows people to "like" or "pass" members of the opposite sex with a right or left swipe of their smart phones.
If two users "like" each other, they are "matched" and can begin communicating.
Scientists asked 1,044 women and 273 men - mostly university students - to complete questionnaires detailing their use of Tinder. They were also quizzed about their body image, socio-cultural factors, perceived objectification and psychological well-being.
Around 10% of participants said they had used the dating app. While both male and female users reported less satisfaction with their bodies and looks compared with non-users, only men had lower levels of self esteem.
Dr Jessica Strubel, from the University of North Texas, US, who co-led the research, said: "We found that being actively involved with Tinder, regardless of the user's gender, was associated with body dissatisfaction, body shame, body monitoring, internalisation of societal expectations of beauty, comparing oneself physically to others, and reliance on media for information on appearance and attractiveness."
Because of the way the app works, Tinder users were at risk of feeling "depersonalised and disposable", said Dr Strubel.
While feeling insecure themselves, they were also tempted to believe something better might turn up with the next swipe of the screen.
The study focused primarily on women, hence the larger number of women participants. But the results showed that men were just as negatively affected by Tinder as women, if not more so, said the researchers.
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."
More research is needed to investigate the long-term psychological effects of social media platforms such as Tinder, she said.
The findings were presented at the American Psychological Association's annual meeting in Denver.