A group of psychologists have found that the popular dating app Tinder can have a negative impact on your self-esteem since it promotes an unrealistic body image among users of both sexes.
The study found that Tinder users are more pessimistic about their body image than non-users. Researchers at University of North Texas also learned that male users of the app are also at risk of damaging their self-esteem.
The findings were presented this week at the annual gathering of the American Psychological Association.
The study was based on self-reports from 1,317 participants. The volunteers, most of whom were in college, completed questionnaires about Tinder use, body image perception, self-esteem levels and more topics.
Of the participants, 10 percent were Tinder users, but despite their low numbers, the Tinder users were less satisfied with their looks than the rest of participants.
Study authors found a link between use of the app and higher levels of body dissatisfaction, higher likelihood to take society’s norms of beauty seriously, propensity to keep a constant watch on one’s own body, comparing oneself to others, and reliance on the media to find tips on how to be attractive and in fashion.
Researchers believe that the app brings its users down so often because of how it was designed: a user can search for a date like she or he is looking for a new shampoo. They have a wide variety of profiles before their eyes which they browse through.
When the user finds a profile interesting enough he or she swipes right, if the profile is not on his or her liking the user swipes left. If two users swipe right on their profiles reciprocally, the app announces them that they are a match.
After some time, this mechanism prompts users to feel easily disposable no matter how hard they try. And because Tinder relies so heavily on physical appearance to find a match, users often become obsessed with their body image.
Nevertheless, study authors said that the app doesn’t necessarily cause low self-esteem. One probable explanation for the findings may be that users who already have low self-esteem levels may be enticed to use the app.
On the other hand, online rejection is as bad for one’s psyche as a real rejection, a separate group of researchers found in a 2012 analysis. And since Tinder’s design relies on rejection, some users may feel discouraged before they find acceptance.
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