Washington: People who use Tinder have a more negative perception of their body and looks, according to new study which found that male users of the popular dating app showed lower levels of self-esteem.
"Tinder users reported having lower levels of satisfaction with their faces and bodies and having lower levels of self-worth than the men and women who did not use Tinder," said Jessica Strubel from University of North Texas in the US.
Individual profiles on Tinder are rated by other users as acceptable by swiping right or unacceptable by swiping left.
If two users deem each other acceptable, then they are "matched" and can begin communicating with one another. In the study, 1,044 women and 273 men (mostly undergraduate students) were asked to complete questionnaires that asked about their use of Tinder as well as about their body image, sociocultural factors, perceived objectification and psychological well-being.
About 10 per cent reported using Tinder. Both male and female users reported less satisfaction with their bodies and looks, compared to non-users, said Strubel, but only male Tinder users reported lower levels of self-esteem. "We found that being actively involved with Tinder, regardless of the user's gender, was associated with body dissatisfaction, body shame, body monitoring, internalisation of societal expectations of beauty, comparing oneself physically to others, and reliance on media for information on appearance and attractiveness," said Strubel.
As a result of how the app works and what it requires of its users, people who are on Tinder after a while may begin to feel depersonalised and disposable in their social interactions, develop heightened awareness (and criticism) of
their looks and bodies, she said. Users also believe that there is always something better around the corner, or rather with the next swipe of their screen, even while questioning their own worth, she said.
"Although current body image interventions primarily have been directed towards women, our findings suggest that men are equally and negatively affected by their involvement in social media," said Strubel. It is important to note that while users tended to have lower self-esteem, this does not necessarily mean that the app is causing it, researchers said. It could be just as likely that people with lower self-esteem are drawn more to these types of apps.
However, other experts are now raising objections against this study. Tinder’s in-house sociologist, Dr. Jess Carbino, says, "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," adds Dr. Carbino...