Tinder has been one of the most prevalent mobile dating apps in contemporary society, particularly among emerging adults. Media and communication researchers have gradually examined Tinder use in various ways, but its potential psychological outcomes have rarely been addressed. It is thus important to study the factors and the mechanism that might play a role in influencing Tinder users’ well-being. The present study investigated the extent to which Tinder users’ compulsive Tinder use, subjective online success, self-conscious social comparison and negative online experiences have an association with the users’ well-being state after use. Moreover, the study also examined if different Tinder motives moderate the relationship between subjective online success and well-being, and whether Tinder users’ subjective online success or objective online success is a better predictor for their well-being after use. A cross-sectional online survey was conducted on 312 current Tinder users who were 18 to 30 years old. The results suggest that while using Tinder compulsively might yield both positive and negative affect, feeling unsuccessful on Tinder and making self-conscious social comparisons both have a positive relationship with sadness, anxiety, and a negative relationship with joviality. In addition, having negative online experiences on Tinder was positively associated with sadness. No moderation effect was found for any of the motives, however, they were associated with well-being as main effects. Using Tinder for social approval and for sexual experience was related to better well-being afterwards. Last but not least, Tinder motive relationship seeking was positively associated with poor well-being after use. The results imply that, while Tinder users may not be able to easily change their success, they might need to be aware of their compulsive Tinder use, self-conscious social comparison tendency on Tinder, and their motives of use (especially if they are looking for a romantic relationship), as these factors might influence their mental health negatively. This study may enrich social comparison theory by demonstrating that comparison can be made selfconsciously in the mobile dating context. It also contributes to the uses and gratifications theory by shedding light on the consequences of various Tinder motives, which may further impact the users’ well-being and continuous use.

, , , , , , ,
Timmermans, E.
Sociology of Culture, Media and the Arts
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Ho, Yu-Chin. (2019, July 25). Tinder blue, mental flu? Exploring the associations between online Tinder use and well-being. Sociology of Culture, Media and the Arts. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/56254