Syracuse, N.Y. — The use of online dating apps like Tinder and Bumble may lower a user’s self-esteem and overall satisfaction with their dating life, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).
In the study, 1,044 women and 273 men, made up of mostly college undergraduate students, were asked to complete questionnaires asking about their use of Tinder as well as about their body image, social life, and psychological well being.
The APA found that both male and female users reported less satisfaction with their bodies and looks, compared to non-users of the dating apps.
While the buffet of dating options seems appetizing, regular rejection is considered one of the chief variables factoring into diminished mental states by the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
“ Social rejection,” PNAS suggests, “when elicited powerfully enough, recruit brain regions involved in both the affective and sensory components of physical pain.”
In the age of tech addiction and edating, five dating apps—Tinder, Bumble, Match, Plenty Of Fish and Zoosk—rank among the top 50 highest-grossing social apps in the Apple Store.
But as dating apps gain popularity and profitability, the cost of a user’s well-being seems to outweigh the mobile convenience.
According to Tinder, the app generates 1.6 billion swipes per day, leading to almost 1.5 million dates—an average of one or two a week per user.
So instead of one rejection at a bar on Friday night, the popularity of dating apps gives users many more opportunities to feel rejected faster due to unanswered messages or the disappointment of a failed match.
Dating apps may also have the surprising effect of making users more likely to give up on current relationships.
The theory is that a better person is just a swipe away.
“People who are on Tinder after a while may begin to feel depersonalized and disposable in their social interactions.” the APA reported. “They develop heightened awareness and criticism of their looks and bodies, believing that there is always something better around the corner.”
The APA also warns that research is “still young” and that it is possible that people with lower self-esteems and higher levels of social anxiety are drawn to these apps as a preference to actual social interactions.