As online dating becomes increasingly accessible for people of all ages, a new study has explored the differences between the demographic make-up of Tinder and other online dating site users.
Psychological researchers Karoline Gatter and Kathleen Hodkinson recently conducted an investigation into the psychological and sociological impacts that online dating has on its users, looking specifically at sociability, self-esteem, and sexual permissiveness.
The pair used Facebook to gather a sample of 75 people above the age of 18 who could speak fluent English, splitting them into three groups; Tinder users, online dating site users, and non-users.
They began by confirming an average age for the groups, recording an average of 27.40 for Tinder users and 44.08 for other dating site users.
Motivations for using online dating
Then, using a four-point rating scale, each participant was asked to indicate their motivations for using Tinder and online dating services, with choices ranging from finding a romantic relationship and finding casual sex partners to making new friends and keeping in contact with existing friends.
By doing so, the researchers found no significant differences in reasons for using online dating platforms between each of the groups, with most men and women using both online dating sites and Tinder to try and find a romantic relationship.
These interesting results counter the common theory that most young people currently on Tinder are only looking to arrange “hookup” encounters, as opposed to more serious relationships.
When analysing the responses, Gatter and Hodkinson also noticed that men were significantly more likely to use both types of online dating to find casual sex partners than their female counterparts.
In terms of sociability, the experiment measured the extent to which people using online dating services prefer to be in a social environment as opposed to being alone.
Much like its findings about motivations, the study showed no notable differences in the level of sociability between Tinder users and other online dating users, or between genders.
Self-esteem and sexual open-mindedness
The self-esteem and sexual permissiveness of participants was also measured throughout the study.
Although the researchers recorded a surprising lack of difference between the confidence of each of the groups, they noted varying results in terms of sexual open-mindedness between both groups and genders.
While the mean sexual permissiveness score for Tinder users (Mean = 25.90; Standard deviation = 7.53) was largely different from the mean score for non-users (M = 34.58; SD = 10.82), it surprisingly did not differ much from the scores of dating agency users (M = 30.00; SD = 8.18).
Additionally, the research also revealed that men were notably more sexually permissive than females.
Commenting on the findings, Gatter and Hodkinson said: “In summary, in the current sample, individual characteristics such as sociability, self-esteem, and sexual permissiveness do not seem to be different in those who use Tinder and those who use Online Dating Agencies.
“Nor do these groups differ from Non-Users. Younger people were more likely to use Tinder, and also to score more highly on sexual permissiveness.
“Men were more likely than women to use both Tinder and Online Dating Agencies to find a casual sex partner, and also scored more highly on sexual permissiveness.”
They added: “The findings of this study provide preliminary evidence to question the myth that most of those who use Social Dating Apps such As Tinder, do so just to have casual sex or “hook up” with someone.”
You can download the full study here.