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Tinder harms people’s psychological well-being, but men suffer worse

Posted August 6, 2016

Modern smart technologies brought so much change into our lives, including dating. It is simply very convenient and easy. However, it does have disadvantages too, as this new study from the University of North Texas has discovered. According to scientists, men are at the highest risk of developing low self-esteem when using a popular dating app Tinder.

Tinder is a popular dating app, liked by many, but some users experience undesired psychological effects. Image credit: DanielGar93 via Wikimedia, CC-BY-SA-4.0

Tinder is a popular dating app, liked by many, but some users experience undesired psychological effects. Image credit: DanielGar93 via Wikimedia, CC-BY-SA-4.0

This researched included 1,044 female and 273 male undergraduates, who had to answer some questions about using Tinder. Scientists discovered that many self-worth indicators are affected by the app, including body satisfaction, self-esteem, feelings of body shame, internalization of cultural beauty standards, comparisons to others and self-objectification. Surprisingly, self-esteem of men, who were using Tinder was affected the most, even though numerous studies in the past proved that women are affected by visual media and social networking sites the most.

Virtually everyone who has a smartphone knows what Tinder is. It is a rather simple dating app, in which you have to swipe person’s profile photo to one or another direction, depending if you like it or not. In this way, you are judging the book by its cover – people choose their mates according to their appearance, which is why scientists thought females would be affected more. Trent Petrie, one of the authors of the study, said: “We thought females would the most strongly, and adversely, be affected by using Tinder, particularly given the extent to which women adopt societal beauty ideals. The fact that male and female Tinder users reported similar levels of psychological distress was surprising”.

Interestingly, self-esteem was the only variable that was different between two genders. All Tinder users reported worse psychosocial well-being and body dissatisfaction than those who do not use the app. Scientists think that men are vulnerable more because of stricter idea of what a real man should be and the pressure to show initiative. However, physical appearance is in the spotlight of Tinder users, which is always extremely uncomfortable to people, who do not consider themselves exceptionally good-looking.

Because of how dating changed in recent decades psychologists will have to take these potential dangers into account. However, scientists stress that more research needs to be done, which would focus on long-term effects, would include a wider group of participants and would address emotional state of people who get rejected on Tinder a lot.


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