Tinder use, gender, and the psychosocial functioning of young adults
Keywords:Tinder, Objectification, Internalization, Depression, Eating Pathology
Tinder is a mobile dating app where users evaluate possible matches based primarily on posted photos; limited content is provided as to who each user is. Thus, appearance becomes paramount in users’ decisions about who to swipe left (i.e., reject) or swipe right (i.e., approve). As such, and consistent with objectification theory, men and women who use this mobile app are treated as objects that are viewed, rated, used, and, in many instances, disposed of. Therefore, in a sample 18-34-year-old men (n=187) and women (n=547), we examined Tinder use and gender in relation to internalization, physical appearance comparison, body satisfaction, self-esteem, perceived sociocultural pressures, depression, negative mood, body surveillance, body shame, body appreciation, and dietary intent. A series of MANCOVAs were used to examine the relation of gender and Tinder use to the outcomes. Regardless of gender, Tinder use (vs. nonuse) was associated with more distress across a range of measures, including sociocultural pressures, internalization of appearance ideals, body image concerns, and negative affect. Tinder use, however, was not related to psychological well-being or eating pathology. These findings extend previous studies and affirm the potentially deleterious environment that exists for Tinder users.
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