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What Factors Affect Users’ Willingness To Use Dating Apps?

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In today’s society, people use dating applications such as Tinder, Bumble, Match.com, and others as a way to meet potential romantic partners (Heino, Ellison, & Gibbs, 2010). According to Hoffman (2018) “The percentage of 18 to 24 year-olds using dating apps increased from 10 percent in 2013 to 27 percent in 2015” (p. 86). This statistic shows that the number of people joining dating apps is on the rise (Hoffman, 2018).

Many factors influence a person’s willingness to use dating apps (Sumter, Vandenbosch, & Ligtenberg, 2017). These factors include self-esteem, entertainment, self-affirmation, self-validation, sensation seeking, and companionship (Sumter et al., 2017). These factors also play a significant part in a person’s willingness to continue using dating apps despite the possible affects using these apps may have on their self-esteem. (Benamati, 2017). Dating App Uses and Gratifications and Self-esteemThe standard way of thinking about dating apps is that people use them as a way of meeting potential romantic partners.

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However, The Uses and Gratifications Theory gives insight into other reason(s) people might use dating apps, to possibly increase their self-esteem (Bryden, 2017). “Self-esteem” is the value a person attributes to himself or herself (Kernis, 2013, p. 125). This value is grounded in how well a person measures up to others and how much “outside admiration” a person receives (Kernis, 2013, p. 126). Bryden (2017) studied the affect loneliness has on dating app use and self-esteem. The same study suggested that matching with someone on a dating app increases users self-esteem and alleviates their loneliness (Bryden, 2017). The researcher concluded that some people joined dating apps because they were lonely. When people match with and message a user they feel satisfied (Bryden, 2017). Adverse Affects of Dating App use on Self-esteem. Using dating apps can also negatively affect users’ self-esteem (Strübel &Petri, 2016). Strübel and Petrie (2016) examined how using Tinder influenced males and females “self-perceptions and self-esteem.” Strübel and Petri (2016) found that Tinder users become overly critical and self-conscious of their looks and doubt their “own worth” (p. 1).

The researchers concluded that being actively involved on Tinder was associated with lower self-esteem due to comparing one’s physical appearance against others (Strübel & Petrie, 2016).Young adults who use dating apps can also be the recipients of inappropriate messages (Whitley, 2017). These inappropriate messages which may trigger feelings of insecurity, uncertainty, and anger in the app user (Whitley, 2017). As a result, the app user may begin to manifest unrealistic expectations of what his/ her body should look like (Bonos, 2016; Zytko, Grandhi, & Jones, 2014). Dating app use, self-esteem, and rejection. Dating app use can negatively affect individuals’ self-esteem due to the rejections they may receive (Henderson, 2018; Using online dating apps harmful for your self-confidence research says, 2018).

For example, a study conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examined the relationship between dating apps, self-esteem, and rejection (Using online dating apps harmful for your self-confidence research says, 2018). The same study suggested the negative feelings an individual experiences due to other users rejecting them on dating apps lowers that person’s self-esteem (Using online dating apps harmful for your self-confidence research says, 2018). The study concluded that people who used dating apps to boost their self-esteem were prone to manifesting addictive behavior (Using online dating apps harmful for your self-confidence research says, 2018).Dating app use and motivation. Orosz, Benyó, Berkes, Nikoletti, Gál, Tóth-Király, and Bőthe (2018) studied the relationship between self-esteem and users’ motivations for using dating apps. The researchers found that some people use dating apps to increase their self-esteem, feel more desirable, and less self-conscious about their looks (Orosz et al., 2018). Orosz et al. (2018) concluded that individuals used Tinder to feel valued by others and increase their self-esteem. As a result of feeling more desirable, people on dating apps may also feel less self-conscious regarding their outward appearance (Tanner & Huggins, 2018). Another study by Sumter el al. (2017) had similar results to Orosz et al. (2018).

The researchers implied that young adults use dating apps to seek a potential romantic partner, elevate their self-esteem, and for excitement (Sumter et al., 2017). Ward (2017) further suggested that people join dating apps to help them get over a breakup and hopefully meet their significant other. Dating apps also significantly increase a user’s choice of selecting potential “partners” (Toma, 2014). However; Toma (2014) suggested that due to an expanded assortment of possible companions to choose from, dating app users are not as inclined to feel obligated to stay in a long-term relationship. Although research conducted by Bryden, (2017); Strübel and Petrie (2016); the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018); Orosz et al (2018); Sumter et al. (2017); and Ward (2017) have examined the factors that affect users’ willingness to use dating apps, these studies have not addressed the role resilience plays in users’ continued use of dating apps. It is important to understand the role resilience plays in the continued use of dating apps. Dating app users can manifest negative emotions after contacting a match who does not respond (Marateck, 2018; Zytko et al., 2014). Consequently, these individuals may start to develop feelings of insecurity and begin to question whether or not they are physically attractive (Zytko et al., 2014). These feelings of insecurity manifested through the use of dating app can also contribute to users having unrealistic expectations of what their body should look like (Bonos, 2016).

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