Science Says Dating Apps Can Make You Feel Like Crap

On Tinder? You might want to read this.
PHOTO: Getty

study presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association confirmed what anyone eating peanut butter from the jar alone on a Tuesday night can tell you: Using Tinder doesn't make you feel better. Or, put more scientifically, there's a connection between men and women who use the dating app, and who have low levels of self-worth and experience negative body image.

In a study currently under review, researchers from the University of North Texas gave questionnaires to 1,044 women and 273 men (if you look closely, you'll be able to spot the difference there,) all mostly undergraduate students, and asked them about their self-esteem and dating habits. Questions like "How satisfied are you with your thighs?" and "How likely are you to make physical comparisons to others?" preceded a question about whether or not they used Tinder. Compared to people who didn't use the app, those who said they did (about 10 percent of the sample) reported "body dissatisfaction, body shame, body monitoring, internalization of societal expectations of beauty, comparing oneself physically to others, and reliance on media for information on appearance and attractiveness," according to co-author Jessica Strübel, PhD.


This study suggests presenting oneself as an object to swipe can have negative effects, and it affects both genders equally. Well, as equally as it can when almost 80 percent of your sample is women.

"Although current body image interventions primarily have been directed toward women, our findings suggest men are equally and negatively affected by their involvement in social media," Strübel continued.

Both Strübel and co-author Trent Petrie warn this association doesn't mean Tinder is causing low self-esteem. It's also possible those with low self-esteem are drawn to these kinds of apps. Whatever the case, more research is needed to fully understand their influence, and we're going to need a lot more peanut butter to get through it.

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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors. 

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