Tinder™ vs. Online Dating Agencies: debunking the myths
For the first time, a scientific study that examines the motivations behind use of social dating apps has been published. The study, On the Differences Between Tinder™ Versus Online Dating Agencies: Questioning a Myth published in Cogent Psychology, explored the motivations of users of online dating agencies and social dating apps to understand why such services are used and to explore users’ characteristics. The aim was to identify any differences in terms of sociability, self-esteem and sexual permissiveness.
The study concluded that no significant differences in motivation existed, suggesting that both types of online dating solutions were used for similar reasons. However, the results did find that males were more likely than females to use these services to find a casual sex partner – a finding that is consistent with other studies that show similar behaviour patterns among males when seeking casual sex partners both online and offline. As such, the exploratory study indicated that the motivations of users of online dating services and apps do not differ from those who do not use such services when it comes to dating habits.
Speaking of the research, Dr. Kathleen Hodkinson, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology, Webster Vienna Private University, Austria, said “To date there has been little scientific research exploring the characteristics and motivations of those who use online dating agencies and social dating apps. We were interested in understanding whether users of these two types of services differ from each other, and from those who do not use any form of online dating. What the research has essentially highlighted is that they don’t appear to. The results of the current study are in line with a broader body of research indicating that nowadays users of online dating resemble those who do not use online dating. It is likely that as online dating continues to grow in popularity, its users are becoming increasingly diverse and therefore more reflective of the general population.”
While the study calls for more in-depth research to be carried out to further test the assumptions made, in particular taking other variables such as religious beliefs, income and marital status, into account, it does provide a starting point for evaluating how online dating services and social dating apps are used today and how this use may change in the future.
When online dating services first emerged, there was a stigma attached as indicated by early studies of internet use which found positive relationships between time spent on the internet, loneliness and society anxiety. Later studies were unable to replicate this finding.This study sees trends that would indicate dating behaviours both offline and online are beginning to mirror each other as social platforms become a more integral part of daily life.
Read or download the full article for free in the open access journal Cogent Psychology: http://cogentoa.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23311908.2016.1162414