NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Men and women who use the popular dating app Tinder have lower levels of psychosocial well-being and body satisfaction compared to people who do not use it, according to a new study.
The study, which was presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association, found that Tinder users reported feeling poorly about themselves generally, making comparisons of their physical appearance to others, internalizing social appearance ideals, feeling ashamed of their bodies, and being focused on (and monitoring of) their bodies attractiveness.
Researchers asked 1,300 individuals between the ages of 18 and 34 years old to rate their feelings toward body satisfaction, self-esteem, internalization of appearance images, social comparison, self-objectification, and Tinder usage.
“Although receiving compliments from other users can boost egos, validate worth, and/or feed narcissistic tendencies, being scrutinized, evaluated and objectified on Tinder also may serve to make individuals more conscious about their bodies and appearance, and lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and general psychological distress,” study authors wrote.
The authors note that the findings are particularly significant considering they found only one study that has investigated the potentially deleterious effects of Tinder.
“Across all measures, there were statistically significant differences between Tinder users and non-users regardless of gender (the exception being self-esteem where gender was relevant),” the study reads. “More specifically, Tinder users reported having lower levels of satisfaction with their faces and bodies, experiencing higher levels of shame about their bodies, being more focused on their bodies as sexual objects, internalizing more strongly societal appearance ideals, making more frequent comparisons of their physical appearance to others, and having lower levels of self-worth than the men and women who eschewed Tinder.”
Tinder’s in-house sociologist and relationship expert, Jess Carbino, PhD, issued the following statement regarding the study:
“The findings of the article cannot be considered significant or representative as a result of major methodological flaws. Given that the authors of the study were measuring the interaction effects of Tinder use by gender, and that the sample of men and women who use Tinder was incredibly small (102: 70 female respondents and 32 male respondents), no statistically significant finding can be drawn about women or men who use Tinder relative to men or women who do not use Tinder or Tinder users generally. The sample is also highly limited in terms of the population the authors drew from to create their sample and not representative of Tinder’s global user base: a state university in the Southeast and a state university in the Southwest.
Given the small sample size and unrepresentative nature of the sample, no actual findings can be established from an empirical perspective. Moreover, any serious social scientist would strongly question and doubt the validity of their results.”
The study cannot concretely argue that Tinder makes people feel worse about their bodies or whether people with low self-esteem issues use it more.