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Online Dating and Problematic Use: A Systematic Review,Search form

 · Online Dating: A Critical Analysis From the Perspective of Psychological Science. Eli J. Finkel, Paul W. Eastwick, Benjamin R. Karney, Harry T. Reis, and Susan Sprecher.  · Previous research coincides with online dating risks (e.g. fear of deception) and objectification tendency due to online dating services (sites and apps) design. Observations  · On the one hand, older adults might attach more stigma to online dating because, compared to their younger counterparts, their experiences during their early dating years To understand how online dating fundamentally differs from conventional offline dating and the circumstances under which online dating promotes better romantic outcomes than Missing: google scholar  · Quiroz, P.A. () ‘From Finding the Perfect Love Online to Satellite Dating and “Loving-the-one-you’re near”: A Look at Grindr, Skout, Plenty of Fish, Meet Moi, Zoosk and ... read more

To our knowledge, however, researchers have yet to undertake systematic examinations of the possibility that age may be an important correlate of people's online dating behaviors and involvement. Indeed, most published reports in this area do not discuss issues of age at all. Nevertheless, a review of the literature on Internet-initiated romantic relationships provides some support for our contention that attitudes toward and experiences in relationships developed online might vary with age.

For example, Donn and Sherman examined the attitudes of undergraduates the vast majority of whom were between the age of 18 and 20 and 76 Ph. students ranging from 22 to 50, with a mean age of Overall, both groups exhibited negative attitudes toward using the Internet to meet potential romantic partners.

However, compared to the graduate student subsample, undergraduate respondents were significantly more negative in their evaluations of Internet dating and those who engage in it. Undergraduates also expressed significantly greater concern with issues surrounding trust and safety relative to graduate students, although both groups were sensitive to the possible risks in these domains.

Finally, undergraduates were less likely than graduate students to report considering using the Internet to meet potential partners or actually having used the Internet for that purpose. A rather more favorable picture of online dating—or at least of online daters—emerged in Brym and Lenton's large-scale survey of members of a Canadian online dating service. The majority Contrary to stereotypes of online daters popular at the time of the study, and in direct contrast to the prejudicial views held by participants especially the undergraduates in the Donn and Sherman study, Brym and Lenton found that their sample of online daters was in fact more sociable offline than the general Canadian population.

Their respondents were highly involved in clubs and organizations, visited relatives often, and frequently engaged in social and leisure pursuits with others. Together with the lines of argument we developed above, these two studies highlight the need for further research investigating age in the context of Internet dating. The Donn and Sherman results suggest that older and younger respondents may differ in their attitudes toward and willingness to engage in dating on the net.

The majority of their participants had never used the Internet to initiate a romantic relationship, however, thus limiting our ability to generalize their findings to online daters. The Brym and Lenton study, in contrast, sampled active members of a popular online dating site. Their results corroborate findings that older adults are active in online dating and call into question stereotyped views—shown in Donn and Sherman to be rather prevalent among younger adults at least those with little or no involvement in online dating —which cast online daters as lonely and desperate Anderson, ; Wildermuth, At the same time, Brym and Lenton did not examine respondent age as a variable of interest.

Consequently, the extent to which their participants' attitudes toward, involvement in, and experiences with online dating varied with age remain empirical questions. The analyses presented in this paper were intended to build on the contributions of these earlier studies. Following Donn and Sherman , we investigated respondent age as an important variable in its own right. Following Brym and Lenton , we recruited Internet users with at least some exposure to Internet personals ads and online dating sites.

We sought to answer the following three research questions:. RQ2: Is age associated with satisfaction with offline methods of meeting people?

RQ3: Is age associated with the likelihood that participants have disclosed to friends and family the fact that they use the Internet to meet people? Our review of reasons to expect that age might be an important variable to consider in understanding the pursuit of online romance suggested two competing hypotheses regarding the direction of any correlation 3 we might observe between age and measures of extent of involvement in online dating and the use of Internet personals ads.

If this were the case, we would expect involvement in online dating to decrease with age. On the other hand, we also reasoned that a variety of contextual life changes associated with increasing age might intensify individuals' motivation to seek new partners while both making it more difficult for older individuals to meet people through offline means and increasing the appeal of dating methods that confer benefits in terms of time and efficiency, size of the pool, and the ability to screen and select potential partners.

If this were the case, we would expect involvement in online dating to increase with age. Accordingly, we tested the following competing predictions:. H1: Individuals will be more apt to engage in online dating the younger they are.

H2: Individuals will be more apt to engage in online dating the older they are. Regardless of whether involvement in online dating increases or decreases with age, we expected to find a negative association between respondent age and rated satisfaction with non-Internet ways of finding romantic partners.

This hypothesis was predicated in part on the assumption that, given older adults' reduced access to natural social institutions Hitsch et al. We thus predicted that:. H3: Satisfaction with offline means of meeting people will decrease with age, and. H4: Self-reported opportunities for meeting potential partners will narrow with age. Our final research question was intended to assess albeit in an indirect fashion the degree to which age may be associated with variations in the stigma our participants attached to online dating.

Once again we offered competing predictions concerning the direction that any correlation between age and stigma might take. Based on this possibility, we predicted that:.

Alternatively, younger adults might attach greater stigma to online dating because they have substantially greater access than older adults to the sorts of natural institutions that offer easy access to large numbers of potential partners Hitsch et al. They ought, in this case, to be less willing to disclose the fact of their involvement in online dating to close others.

Thus, along with H5, we proposed the competing prediction that:. Internet users who located our online questionnaire through search engines or links placed on academically oriented social psychology websites participated in this study. After screening submissions for missing data and removing the small number of homosexual participants 4 to increase the homogeneity of our sample, the data for respondents 63 males, females were retained for analysis.

The majority were also North American Complete demographic data are presented in Table 1. In addition, they reported the number of hours they spent a in chat rooms, b browsing online personals ads, c responding to online personals ads, and d posting online personals ads, as well as the total time they spent online e.

Participants also estimated in months and years how long they had been using the Internet to meet people. We summed participants' responses to the three items about online personals ads i. We also calculated the ratio of time engaged in online dating activity to total time online to provide an estimate of the proportion of time online spent in activities related to online dating.

Several items assessed the nature and extent of participants' involvement in online dating. If they had responded to an ad, they were asked to recall the number of ads they had responded to.

If they had posted an ad, they were asked to recall how many responses they had received and to estimate the percentages of responses they considered favorable and unfavorable e. Next, all participants completed a forced-choice item asking whether they had ever met in person someone they had originally met on the Internet.

Finally, respondents completed a 7-item checklist to indicate the kind relations they were looking for in an online relationship e.

that you use the Internet as a means of meeting people? We created an online survey designed to gather broad descriptive data concerning people's experiences with online personals ads and Internet-initiated romances. We then contacted the webmasters at several academically oriented social psychology websites e. com and psych. html and asked them to place a link to the survey on their websites. Data were collected over a period of approximately 18 months days from 13 August through 20 January Individuals who accessed the survey website advanced to the survey itself only after indicating their consent to participate.

Identifying information was stripped from submitted responses and each response was assigned an arbitrary participant number prior to analysis. In total, we received submissions. After removing 51 completely blank submissions, the first author compared date-time stamps, IP addresses, and similarities in responses across each of the remaining submissions to identify possible duplicates.

None were found. Several of the remaining participants had values of 0 for total time in online dating activity. We retained these participants for analysis only if they provided a valid, nonzero value in response to the item that asked how long they had been using the Internet to meet people or responded in the affirmative to one or both of the items asking if they had ever posted or responded to an online personals ad thus indicating that they had used online personals ads at some point in the past, though they did not report using them at the time of the study.

Together, these criteria led to the removal of participants, yielding a sample of An additional two submissions containing lewd and pornographic responses were also removed, as was the submission for one respondent who was underage i. To reduce the heterogeneity of our sample, we also removed the data for 35 gay, lesbian, and bisexual respondents. Finally, we dropped the data for an additional 17 respondents when subsequent examination of responses identified them as outliers on one or more variables used in the analyses respondents whose standardized scores on the continuous variables of interest exceeded 3.

The final sample thus included participants. Close inspection of the data revealed that several variables age, the time online variables, total number of responses to ads participants had posted, and number of ads to which participants had responded were substantially positively skewed even after removal of outliers.

We thus transformed each of these variables prior to analysis using square root and logarithmic transformations as each case required. We also conducted preliminary analyses to determine whether age was associated with participant sex, residence rural vs.

urban , or relationship status i. Posthoc Tukey HSD tests indicated that, on average, participants who reported being in more seriously committed relationships i. The latter two groups did not differ from each other. Overall, our participants were quite active in online dating. The considerable majority reported having posted an online personals ad Higher numbers thus indicate more extensive use of online personals ads for purposes of meeting potential romantic partners we considered posting an ad indicative of greater involvement in online dating than responding to an ad because more effort is required to post than to respond.

With this index as our metric, our sample is comprised primarily of Internet users who have both posted and responded to ads Of the remainder, 7. Descriptive statistics for participants' estimates of the amount of time in an average week they spent browsing, posting, and responding to online personals ads as well as time spent in chat rooms and total time spent online are displayed in Table 2.

Time Spent in Online Dating-Related Activity, in Chat Rooms, and Total Time Online in Hours per Week. Statistics for the browsing, responding, posting, and chat room variables were calculated excluding participants who reported spending 0 hours in these activities at the time of the study.

Five participants had missing data on one or more of the online dating activity variables and thus were not included in the calculations for total online dating activity or the ratio of total time in online dating to total time online. As noted elsewhere, statistics for these latter two variables also exclude scores for six participants who reported spending more time engaged in online dating activity in an average week than they reported spending online in an average week.

a The mean total time in online dating activity does not equal the sum of the individual means for the browsing, posting, and responding items because the former mean was calculated across all participants with nonmissing data, whereas the latter means were calculated excluding those with missing data or reporting values of 0.

In other words, in contrast to the means for the individual items, values for the total time in online dating activities variable were calculated including those who did not report current online dating activity.

When asked what they were looking for in an online relationship, the considerable majority of participants expressed interest in seeking fun, companionship, and someone to talk to see Table 3.

Most also reported interests in developing casual friendships and dating relationships with online partners.

Substantially fewer reported using the Internet for the specific purposes of identifying potential sexual or marital partners. RQ1: Is Age Associated With Level of Involvement in Online Dating? Our first research question explored the possibility that involvement in Internet dating might vary as a function of respondent age. As the first step in evaluating the competing hypotheses we advanced concerning the direction the results might take, we calculated point-biserial correlations between age and responses to the items concerning whether participants had ever posted an online personals ad, responded to such an ad, or met face to face with someone they had initially met online.

Consistent with the hypothesis that individuals might be more apt to engage in online dating the older they are H2 , each of these correlations was positive. As a respondent's age increased, so too did the extensiveness of his or her participation in online dating activities involving the use of online personals ads.

We also investigated the possibility that age might relate to the number of responses participants submitted or received and to their estimates of the proportion of received responses that were favorable and unfavorable. Of the four relevant correlations, only one was significant, providing only weak evidence of an association. Correlational analyses also revealed several significant but generally weak correlations between age and time spent in online dating activities.

Finally, to determine whether age was associated with the kinds of relationships or social opportunities participants' reported seeking in their use of online personals ads, we calculated point-biserial correlations between age and endorsement of the sexual relationship and marriage partner options i. Although neither correlation was large, both were consistent with Hypothesis 2.

In sum, although the observed associations tend to be small to very small in size and some variables show no association whatsoever , the overall pattern of results provides consistent support for Hypothesis 2 over Hypothesis 1. Across the majority of variables we examined, if any association between participant age and online dating activity was observed, the tendency was for involvement in Internet dating via online personals ads to increase—rather than decrease—with age.

RQ2 : Is Age Associated With an Individual's Self-Reported Level of Satisfaction With Offline Methods of Meeting People? Our second research question asked whether satisfaction with offline methods of meeting others might vary with age. Congruent with our expectations, however, the picture looked considerably different when we took participants' age into consideration. Additional analyses revealed small but significant associations between age and reported use of several of the offline methods for meeting partners that we investigated.

This pattern of results provides some support for our hypothesis that individuals' opportunities for meeting potential romantic partners narrow with age H4 and thus for our assumption that, as they age, individuals may be more likely to seek nonconventional means of accessing dates such as are available through the Internet and print personals. RQ3 : Is Age Associated With Perceptions of the Stigma Associated With Online Dating? Our final research question addressed the issue of stigma by exploring whether age was associated with participants' decisions to disclose to close others the fact that they use the Internet to meet people.

H6, in contrast, was based on the assumption that younger adults might attach greater stigma to online dating because they have substantially greater access than older adults to the sorts of natural institutions that offer easy access to large numbers of potential partners. In actuality, the considerable majority of our sample In short, the results supported neither of our hypotheses.

The present paper investigated three research questions concerning the possibility that people's attitudes toward, involvement in, and experiences with online dating might differ by age. Consistent with the key tenets of Socioemotional Selectivity Theory Carstensen, ; Carstensen et al. Our first research question examined the possibility that age might be associated with variation in involvement in pursuits related to online dating.

The associations we observed were small in magnitude and some of the variables we examined showed no relation to age at all. Nevertheless, the general pattern of results was surprisingly consistent and, overall, supported Hypothesis 2, which predicted that degree of involvement in online dating increases rather than decreases with age.

Older participants were more likely than younger participants to have both posted and responded to online personals ads and to have met face-to-face with someone they had first encountered online. The number of responses participants reported sending increased somewhat with age, as did the time they reported spending browsing online personals ads, the total time they spent involved in activities related to online dating, and the ratio of total time involved in online dating activities to total time online.

Finally, although the association was small, older adults were significantly more likely than younger adults to report seeking marital and sexual partners online. Importantly, this latter finding—especially the positive association between age and using online personals ads to find marital partners—suggests that older adults are not only more involved in the pursuit of romantic partners via the Internet than younger adults, but more serious in their pursuits, as well.

This latter interpretation fits well with Socioemotional Selectivity Theory. With respect to previous literature, our results are generally consistent with Donn and Sherman's findings that the younger undergraduate students in their sample were less likely than the older graduate students who participated in their study to report having used the Internet to meet potential partners.

Our results extend Donn and Sherman's findings, however, because few participants in their study had ever visited an online dating site whereas our participants all had at least some exposure to such sites, the majority having accessed such sites for purposes of both posting and responding to personals ads.

Interestingly, despite consistent if rather weak evidence that the amount of time participants spent engaged in activities related to online dating increased with age, age and total time online were not related. This pattern of results—and the positive and significant albeit small correlation between age and the ratio of time engaged in online dating activity to total time online—suggests that the older adults in our sample focused proportionally more of their time online on efforts to establish romance than did their younger counterparts.

Such a pattern is again consistent with our claim, based on Socioemotional Selectivity Theory, that older participants may have been more serious in their pursuit of online romance than younger participants. RQ2 : Age and Dissatisfaction With Offline Means of Meeting People. Our second research question examined the association between age and participants' satisfaction with non-Internet methods of meeting people and was based on the assumption, tested as Hypothesis 4, that people experience a narrowing of opportunities for meeting people as they age.

Guided by this assumption, we predicted that age and satisfaction with offline means of meeting people would be negatively correlated H3. Congruent with both hypotheses, we found a fairly robust and negative correlation between satisfaction and age and some albeit fairly weak evidence that reported use of the various offline methods for meeting people examined in this study decreased with age.

Specifically, older participants were significantly less likely than younger participants to report meeting people at bars and nightclubs and through their friends. Age was also negatively correlated with the total number of offline methods participants reported using to meet people. A total of studies were identified which produced a final selection of 43 studies after inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied see Fig. Studies were excluded if they i primarily concerned cyberbullying and its derivatives, ii primarily concerned scams, and iii did not assess online dating as the main variable under investigation.

This yielded 43 studies see Table 1 , only two of which specifically covered potential addiction to online dating. This section has been divided into six subsections which cover: i usage and motivation, ii personality correlates, iii negative correlates, iv impulsive behaviour, v substance use and behavioural addictions, and vi problematic use of online dating. A total of eleven studies were found that examined the characteristics of use or motivations of online dating use. Out of the eleven studies, there were ten quantitative studies, all of which were cross-sectional Corriero and Tong ; Gunter ; Hance et al.

One study examined heterosexual respondents only Hwang , and another study focused on male homosexual populations only Corriero and Tong , and the remaining studies did not differentiate between sexual orientations.

They were asked to complete an online survey that contained a subscale on active intentions from the Dating Anxiety Survey Calvert et al. However, there was no difference regarding income or education. Furthermore, in relation to age, it appeared that adults aged between 30 and 50 years were the most active users. Asians and Latinos and within the same group i. whites with whites. In order to do this, demographic measures i. age, gender, marital status, educational level and zip code of residence were taken; also willingness to date inter- and intra-racially was registered; however, the authors did not specify how they measured that variable willingness to date inter- and intra-racially.

Generally, dating online intra-racially was favoured over inter-racial dating. However, men were found to be higher in willingness to date inter-racially in comparison to women. Nonetheless, considering the specificity of the sample, these results cannot be extrapolated to the general population. Further studies should consider including variability in terms of sexual orientations and cultural background to see if these findings can be replicated.

positive distortions towards finding the perfect match. Taken together, the previous four studies indicate that young adult men are the most active online dating users tending to date intra-racially. However, three of these studies i. Gunter ; Houran and Lange ; Valkenburg and Peter were carried out before the launch of smartphone dating apps, the appearance of which could have resulted in different findings.

Regarding psychological characteristics of users, Kim et al. Furthermore, they found that users high in social skills i. sociability , together with high self-esteem, and high relationship involvement were more likely to use online dating services in comparison to those with high sociability and high relationship involvement but with low self-esteem. On the contrary, individuals with low self-esteem and low relationship involvement together with high sociability were found to be more active users compared to less sociable participants, and those whose self-esteem was high but who scored low on relationship involvement, or vice versa.

To clarify, the effect was only found in the interaction between self-esteem and relationship involvement among those high in sociability. Seemingly, being sociable appears as an important predictor of higher online dating use. In contrast to these results, a small survey by Stinson and Jeske of participants found that peer pressure influenced the decision to use online dating services instead of personality factors e.

sociability, introversion. The authors claimed that it may be due to the spreading popularity of online dating that personality features were not as predictive in regard to usage tendency. In a study of respondents, Menkin et al. Conversely, if users were concerned about their own personal information, health and privacy, then their desire for uncertainty decreased.

Therefore, it may be argued that those young users who are looking for casual sex encounters put themselves at higher risk than those who are not looking for sex. This hypothesis is discussed in a later section.

In more general terms, online daters search for companionship, comfort after a life crisis, control over the presentation of oneself to others, to refrain from commitment and societal boundaries, new experiences, and romantic fantasies Lawson and Leck In relation to control over self-presentation, it has been claimed that individuals with high rejection—sensitivity tend to feel more comfortable to express themselves in the online medium, and those who feel more comfortable expressing themselves online are found to score higher on online dating use Hance et al.

One of the reasons for high rejection—sensitive individuals to engage more in the online dating arena may be related to feeling less constrained to show themselves i. Nonetheless, it appears that common features in online dating like the absence of time limits i. asynchronous communication and selective self-presentation facilitate deceptive representations of oneself Hall et al. In a study of secondary survey data from US participants, Paul found that couples who met online had higher split up rates in comparison to partners who met offline.

Arguably, typical features of online dating services and apps such as asynchronous communication and selective self-presentation may negatively affect the quality of a long-term relationship between two online daters. Consequently, further studies are needed in the form of longitudinal designs that would help establish the causes that affect the quality of relationships initiated via online dating services.

Overall, the results of this subsection show that the use of online dating platforms is widespread and has grown rapidly in the past few years. In terms of use, younger adult men appear to be the most prevalent users of online dating services. In terms of motivations to use online dating, men favour sex appeal more compared to women. Regarding psychological characteristics, it appears that high sociability and high rejection—sensitivity are associated with higher use of online dating services.

The studies reviewed suggest that there are some features in online dating services i. sites and apps that could enhance the chances of deception and decrease the quality of long-term relationships. Nonetheless, there are some methodological weaknesses e.

the use of non-validated psychometric instruments, and non-representative samples that should be amended in future research so that the internal and external validity of these findings are increased. As to the design, the research should consider longitudinal approaches to help establish the direction of causality i. is relationship quality affected by online dating or are there underlying factors that directly affect relationship quality.

Considering the association that exists between specific personality correlates and patterns of use, a total of seven studies Blackhart et al.

All the studies assessed used quantitative and cross-sectional methods. Blackhart et al. This association was also reported in a study of US heterosexual participants Findings suggested that those high in sensation-seeking used online dating apps to look for casual partners and romantic dates Chan The authors also found associations between trust towards people, sensation-seeking, and higher use of smartphones with increased dating app use, and a direct relationship between smartphone use and dating app use.

Arguably, there may be an association between excessive smartphone use and dating app use. They reported a positive correlation between sexual permissiveness and dating app use for casual sex dates. The authors also found that the odds ratio for likelihood of being an active user increased by 1.

Thrill of excitement also works as a motivation for online dating app use for sensation-seeking individuals. There appears to be agreement concerning the relationship between some personality traits and the motives for online dating use Sumter and Vandenbosch identity, social, companionship, distraction, intercourse, status, and relationship with blended items from three different validated scales: the General Internet Use Scale Charney and Greenberg , Television Viewing Motives Scale Rubin and Social Networking Scale Guessennd et al.

Results provided significant correlations between personality traits and online dating gratifications. For example, neuroticism was significantly related to identity gratification, which means that individuals high in neuroticism pursue the creation of their own identity by being free to choose what to show to others. Openness to experience was found to be associated with being social when using online dating sites.

Disagreeable individuals were found to use online dating sites to be social and to search for companions. Conversely, those who scored low in disagreeableness were found to use online dating sites with peer pressure i. Furthermore, conscientiousness was correlated with finding a romantic relationship.

Also, the authors included sex and sexual orientation in the model in order to relate them to personality traits and dating gratifications. Significant associations were found between homosexual participants and gratifications of relationship and sex. Additionally, homosexuals were found to score higher on neuroticism, together with heterosexual women.

It has already been noted that neurotic individuals aim to form their own identity via online dating sites Clemens et al. In terms of personality traits, the authors reported that participants low in openness to experience were more likely to misrepresent themselves on online dating sites in order to appear more appealing.

Neurotic individuals, who have been claimed to pursue control over their online representation, were not found to misrepresent themselves Hall et al. Regarding attachment styles, Chin et al. A multivariate regression analysis was performed utilising data from the Attachment Style Questionnaire Simpson et al.

Results showed differences in use depending on the type of attachment and reported those with anxious attachment patterns tended to use online dating more than avoidant types. The results in this section indicate that there is a relationship between the use of dating apps and personality characteristics, such as low conscientiousness, high sensation-seeking, and sexual permissiveness. The relationship suggests that individuals high in sensation-seeking and sexual permissiveness use dating app services for casual sexual encounters.

Further research should study the relationship between sensation-seeking and sexual permissiveness with the use of dating apps. Also, there appears to be an association between neuroticism and higher online dating use.

However, only two studies have reported a clear positive correlation Chin et al. Regarding the limitations of the studies, all of them were cross-sectional; therefore, no causality or directionality of the findings can be inferred. This section reviews risks in relation to the use of online dating. A total of ten studies were identified.

There were six qualitative studies Best and Delmege ; Couch and Liamputtong ; Couch et al. Three of the studies were purely quantitative Cali et al. Additionally, two studies utilised female-only samples Cali et al. According to the studies found in relation to perceived risks, there appears to be agreement on the existence of potential dangers of online dating.

Vandeweerd et al. There were some shared perceived risk categories identified by these two studies: lying, finding people with ulterior motives, and aggression. online vs. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the two conditions and were given a description. Following this, they were asked to complete the Dating Self-Protection Against Rape Scale Moore and Waterman and some items on internet usage.

After analysis, results showed a difference between the two groups. Online dating scenario participants placed more importance on self-protective behaviours, and those who had never used online dating before scored the highest in self-protective behaviours. Here, it appears that time spent using online dating mitigates the perceptions of risks which could lead to the underestimation of potential dangers.

Further research needs to verify this hypothesis. Choi et al. The data showed that users of dating apps were more likely to have been sexually abused than non-users in the past year.

The use of online dating apps was also associated with lifetime sexual abuse, especially among sexual minorities i. These data need to be interpreted cautiously because the data did not discern whether the abuser was met online or offline. Further studies should discriminate whether or not the abuser was met via dating apps.

Among adolescent populations, Sánchez et al. The first study was qualitative, with focus groups including 16 participants eight males with ages ranging from 14 to 17 years.

The focus group data analysis resulted in identifying several factors which were later included in the development of a scale second study. Couch and Liamputtong interviewed 15 participants from Melbourne Australia via online chat, eleven males aged between 24 and 44 years.

In a later study, Couch et al. After conducting the interviews via an online chat platform, they found that participants identified risks such as deceit, sexual risks, emotional and physical risks and risks of encountering dangerous and untrustworthy people.

Additionally, one of the key features of online dating i. Heino et al. Another study carried out with 38 older Slovenian adults between 63 and 77 years of age 18 females found that participants used economic metaphors e.

the best of what the market offers, to be back in the market when speaking about their experience of online dating Erjavec and Fišer Based on these findings, further research could study the relationship between objectification of others and self in online dating use and mental health problems.

Overall, the studies covered in this section demonstrate that online dating is perceived as more dangerous than traditional offline dating. The perceived risks appear to coincide across studies, mainly involving deception, sexual harassment, and finding untrustworthy people.

However, only one study Choi et al. There is agreement on the general perception of risks and the objectification effect by filtering through multiple profiles. Findings come mainly from qualitative studies; therefore, they are informative, but further analysis on more representative populations using quantitative approaches is needed to support these results.

There is an important body of research studying impulsive behaviours mainly in the form of risky sexual choices in the context of online dating. Consequently, a total of ten studies in relation to online dating were identified examining risky sexual behaviours Choi et al. All the studies were quantitative and cross-sectional Choi et al. In terms of samples, six of the studies focused exclusively on men who have sex with men MSM Chow et al.

Of those, at least were male participants ten did not answer the gender question. The aim was to examine the relationship between smartphone dating apps and risky sexual behaviours i.

condomless sex. In the first study Choi et al. Additionally, the use of dating apps for a period longer than 12 months was associated with having casual condomless sex in the most recent sexual interaction.

In the second study Choi et al. For example, dating app users and alcohol drinkers were less likely to use a condom during sex alcohol consumption was categorised as current drinker or non-drinker. Being bisexual, homosexual, or female was significantly correlated with being less likely to have used a condom during the most recent sexual interaction.

Regarding homosexual populations, Chow et al. Findings reported that MSM who used dating apps were 1. Additionally, a significant relationship between alcohol and drug use and condomless sex was found drugs and alcohol consumption data were collected via an item based on a retrospective account of the last three months in conjunction with dating app use. In contrast to these findings, Heijman et al. The results found no significant association with dating app use and condomless sex among HIV-negative users; conversely, HIV-positive users were found to be more likely to perform anal sex without a condom, indicating that there are differences in risky sexual choices by MSM in the context of online dating.

However, this association was not significant after inclusion of partnership characteristics in the multivariate model e. HIV status, ethnic origin, and age. The authors suggested that knowing more information about partners i. HIV status, lifestyle concordance, and ethnic origin works as a mediating effect for condomless sex in the context of online dating. In a previous study with MSM in the Netherlands, Hospers et al.

Nonetheless, Whitfield et al. In order to explain the factors involved in the decision-making of sexual risky behaviours among MSM who actively use online dating platforms, Kok et al. behavioural beliefs about the use of condoms , subjective norms i. normative beliefs , and perceived control i.

Fantasising about condomless sex was found to have a direct effect on intention to carry out condomless sex intention is considered by the theory of planned behaviour to be the most reliable predictor of behaviour Ajzen ; Kok et al.

In relation to online dating apps, it could be argued that specific structural characteristics e. chat, sharing pictures may increase fantasising about condomless sex. However, further research is needed to relate the aforementioned structural characteristics of dating apps and sexual behaviour. Regarding behavioural changes among computer online dating and smartphone dating apps, Jung et al. online dating site to smartphone access i. As a consequence of computer-to-smartphone shift, the authors noted that men had increased impulsivity i.

they became even less deliberate in terms of quantity of messages sent and their targets. For example, viewing profiles of individuals from a different ethnic background increased by Therefore, according to these results, there appears to be an effect on the ubiquity factor to becoming more engaged and presumably increasing the chances of developing a misuse pattern of online dating services when using smartphone dating apps rather than computer-based online sites.

According to March et al. the act of being provocative, offensive or threatening [Bishop ] on the Tinder app. Taking these two studies together Jung et al. Overall, the results presented in this section suggest that online daters have higher chances of behaving impulsively in comparison to non-users in terms of risky sexual choices.

The behaviours covered were mostly of sexual nature and focused mainly on homosexual male populations MSM. Nonetheless, it could be beneficial for the sake of generalisability to know if these results can be replicated across individuals with other sexual orientations i. heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual women. In the final selection of studies, there are only two studies that have examined the relationship between online dating and substance use addiction Boonchutima and Kongchan ; Choi et al.

sex addiction and online dating Zlot et al. Boonchutima and Kongchan surveyed a sample of MSM from Thailand three out of four respondents aged 18 to 35 years and asked about their online dating app use, sexual history, drug use history and intention of using drugs. Furthermore, one in three substance users Therefore, according to the findings, there may be an association between illegal drug use and condomless sex.

Nevertheless, it should be noted there is no mention regarding what type of illicit drugs was used. Regarding alcohol consumption and online dating, Choi et al. In a later study, Choi et al. more than a year and recreational substance use in conjunction with sex.

Again, the specific substances were not mentioned and were coined as recreational drugs alcohol was independent of the recreational drugs category. It would be useful for further research to specify the respective substances as the scope of illicit or recreational drugs can be extensive. According to these studies, the co-occurrence of substance use with risky sexual behaviour in the context of online dating was indicated.

Nonetheless, caution needs to be used with regard to this assumption because the assessed samples were skewed towards MSM; therefore, generalising the results to the general population is not possible. In relation to behavioural addictions in the context of online dating, Zlot et al. In order to collect data, participants answered a series of validated psychometric instruments that were integrated in an online questionnaire.

Measures included the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale Liebowitz , the Sensation Seeking Scale Zuckerman et al. Following the analysis, associations were found between users of dating apps and higher scores on sexual addiction measures in comparison to non-app users, as well as a positive correlation between social anxiety and the use of smartphone dating.

Again, the relationship between anxiety-tendency factors and the use of online dating was supported as was mentioned in the preceding sections. The scarcity of the literature limits the conclusions. However, the findings can be considered as a guide for future study examining substance use and other types of behavioural addictions with online dating. There appears to be a relationship between substance use among partners who have met via online dating, at least among MSM who use dating apps.

In relation to substance use and online dating among heterosexual populations, data come from only one study that reported no direct relationship Choi et al. In terms of behavioural addiction, only sex addiction has been studied and it was found to be related to dating app use Zlot et al. To date, only two studies have exclusively focused on problematic online dating.

Both studies were quantitative and developed validated psychometric scales Orosz et al. One of the studies used a mixed-methods approach Orosz et al. The two studies solely focused on one specific dating app i. In the first study, Orosz et al. This self-report measure is based on the components model of addiction Griffiths , which comprises six characteristics of addiction: salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal, conflict and relapse.

In the second study, Orosz et al. sex, love, self-esteem enhancement, and boredom. The results were weak in relation to personality factors and the four main motivations for Tinder use. However, self-esteem enhancement was related to Tinder use. The results showed that relatedness frustration i. needs not met by affection and care from relevant others predicted the motivation of self-esteem enhancement which was found to be one of the motivations associated with problematic use of Tinder, together with the sex motive.

Overall, the studies presented in this section are not sufficient in terms of quantity to consider online dating addiction as an entity. However, the studies are of general interest to researchers considering the widespread use of dating apps and provide insight in relation to factors such as self-esteem and sex-searching that may be related to the development of problematic patterns of use.

Even though there is a scarcity of literature examining problematic use of online dating, there is some research that appears to support the findings presented in this section. Further study is needed to consider the relevant factors that have been suggested as predictors of problematic use, self-esteem and sex-searching motives, with a cross-cultural approach in order to inform of possible cultural differences in relation to problematic use. Also, other dating apps could be subject of study to examine if there are any differences in terms of motives that could lead to problematic use.

The present paper reviewed the literature concerning the use of online dating focusing on problematic online dating computer-based and smartphone apps , characteristics of users e. risks associated with the use of online dating, impulsivity, use of drugs in conjunction to online dating. Due to the lack of previous literature on problematic use of online dating, socio-demographic and psychological characteristics e. gender, age and personality are informative with regard to which specific individual characteristics relate to greater use of online dating.

Even though longer-time use cannot be considered as problematic or addictive per se , it could be a reference point for future research in the field. The growth in this service may be due to different reasons, and as with other forms of internet use e. social media use, online gaming, online shopping, etc. Nevertheless, online dating developers have acknowledged that design is made to engage the user and increase monetisation of the business Jung et al.

Even though the design of dating apps has not been studied in the field of addiction, previous literature examining SNS use suggests that user interaction such as scrolling, tapping, and typing is related to smartphone addiction Noë et al. Considering that dating apps have a similar user interaction design i. Further research is needed to confirm such a speculation. In terms of personality correlates, reviewed studies pointed out that sociability, anxious attachment style, social anxiety, lower conscientiousness, higher sensation-seeking, and sexual permissiveness were associated with higher use of online dating sexual permissiveness and lower conscientiousness have also been related to sex-searching in the context of online dating Blackhart et al.

Likewise, SNS research has suggested that higher extraversion, social anxiety, loneliness, and lower self-efficacy are related to Facebook addiction Atroszko et al. Neurotic correlates i. social anxiety, neuroticism, and anxious attachment style of SNS and online dating research have been found, with these characteristics having been associated with higher use, operationalising the definition of neuroticism as being highly anxious, depressed, and low in self-esteem Eysenck , and it could be argued that some of the motives of use claimed for these individuals could work as a form of avoidance or escapism from distress e.

distraction , leading to a negative reinforcement of the behaviour i. online dating that could heighten the chances of developing any kind of misuse or excessive usage pattern. Our previous thinking was that the role of friends in dating would never be displaced.

But it seems like online dating is displacing it. What do you believe led to the shift in how people meet their significant other? There are two core technological innovations that have each elevated online dating. The first innovation was the birth of the graphical World Wide Web around There had been a trickle of online dating in the old text-based bulletin board systems prior to , but the graphical web put pictures and search at the forefront of the internet.

Pictures and search appear to have added a lot to the internet dating experience. The second core innovation is the spectacular rise of the smart phone in the s. Also, the online dating systems have much larger pools of potential partners compared to the number of people your mother knows, or the number of people your best friend knows.

Dating websites have enormous advantages of scale. Even if most of the people in the pool are not to your taste, a larger choice set makes it more likely you can find someone who suits you. When it comes to single people looking for romantic partners, the online dating technology is only a good thing, in my view. In addition, in our study we found that the success of a relationship did not depend on whether the people met online or not.

Read the Full Text. Many of us enter the dating pool looking for that special someone, but finding a romantic partner can be difficult.

In this new report, Eli J. Finkel Northwestern University , Paul W. Karney UCLA , Harry T. Reis University of Rochester , and Susan Sprecher Illinois State University take a comprehensive look at the access, communication, and matching services provided by online dating sites. Although the authors find that online dating sites offer a distinctly different experience than conventional dating, the superiority of these sites is not as evident.

Dating sites provide access to more potential partners than do traditional dating methods, but the act of browsing and comparing large numbers of profiles can lead individuals to commoditize potential partners and can reduce their willingness to commit to any one person.

Communicating online can foster intimacy and affection between strangers, but it can also lead to unrealistic expectations and disappointment when potential partners meet in real life.

As online dating matures, however, it is likely that more and more people will avail themselves of these services, and if development — and use — of these sites is guided by rigorous psychological science, they may become a more promising way for people to meet their perfect partners. Hear author Eli J. Finkel discuss the science behind online dating at the 24th APS Annual Convention.

About the Authors. I agree wholeheartedly that so-called scientific dating sites are totally off-base. They make worse matches than just using a random site. They also have a very small pool of educated, older men, and lots more women.

Therefore they often come up with no matches at all, despite the fact that women with many different personality types in that age group have joined.

They are an expensive rip-off for many women over My mother and father had very few hobbies and interests in common, but because they shared the same core values, their love endured a lifetime.

I met a few potential love interests online and I never paid for any matching service! I did my own research on people and chatted online within a site to see if we had things in common. If that went well, we would have another date. I am currently with a man I met online and we have been together for two years! We have plans to marry in the future.

I myself would probably start looking right away since looking for love online is a lengthy process! I knew this man 40 years ago as we worked in the same agency for two years but never dated. Last November I saw his profile on a dating site. My husband had died four years ago and his wife died 11 years ago.

We dated for five months. I questioned him about his continued online search as I had access to his username. I think he has been on these dating sites for over 5 years. Needless to say I will not tolerate this and it was over. No-one seems very interested in making an actual purchase or commitment. I notice that all the previous comments are from women only. I agree with the article that says essentially, there are too many profiles and photos. And on it goes. The term Chemistry gets thrown around a lot.

Stumbling upon this article during research for my Master thesis and I am curious: Would you use an app, that introduces a new way of dating, solely based on your voice and who you are, rather than how you look like? makes you laugh. And we are definitely more than our looks. I found my partner online and we had no picture of each other for three months — but we talked every night for hours….

fell in love and still are after 10 years… We met on a different level and got aligned long before we met. So, the question is, would you give this way of meeting someone a chance… an app where you can listen in to answers people give to questions other user asked before and where you can get a feeling for somebody before you even see them? APS regularly opens certain online articles for discussion on our website.

Effective February , you must be a logged-in APS member to post comments. By posting a comment, you agree to our Community Guidelines and the display of your profile information, including your name and affiliation.

For more information, please see our Community Guidelines. A new NIH report emphasizes the importance of behavioral science in improving health, observes that support for these sciences at NIH is unevenly distributed, and makes recommendations for how to improve their support at the agency. APS has written to the U. Senate to encourage the integration of psychological science into a new draft bill focused on U. pandemic preparedness and response. website builder. Lynne July 1, Lisa January 24, Vickie February 4, Carol Blair August 9, Jocelyn June 23, Sandra April 25, APS Advocates for Psychological Science in New Pandemic Preparedness Bill APS has written to the U.

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Online Dating: A Critical Analysis From the Perspective of Psychological Science,What to read next:

To understand how online dating fundamentally differs from conventional offline dating and the circumstances under which online dating promotes better romantic outcomes than Missing: google scholar  · Quiroz, P.A. () ‘From Finding the Perfect Love Online to Satellite Dating and “Loving-the-one-you’re near”: A Look at Grindr, Skout, Plenty of Fish, Meet Moi, Zoosk and  · Online Dating: A Critical Analysis From the Perspective of Psychological Science. Eli J. Finkel, Paul W. Eastwick, Benjamin R. Karney, Harry T. Reis, and Susan Sprecher.  · Abstract. The paradox of modern dating is that online platforms provide more opportunities to find a romantic partner than ever before, but people are nevertheless more AdFind Your Special Someone Online. Choose the Right Dating Site & Start Now!Zoosk - Best Dating Site - $/month · Match - Best for romance - $/month  · Previous research coincides with online dating risks (e.g. fear of deception) and objectification tendency due to online dating services (sites and apps) design. Observations ... read more

Importantly, this latter finding—especially the positive association between age and using online personals ads to find marital partners—suggests that older adults are not only more involved in the pursuit of romantic partners via the Internet than younger adults, but more serious in their pursuits, as well. Hoyle, R. Additionally, online dating services facilitate casual encounters i. Search ADS. The authors also declare that they do not have any financial or other relations e. Identifying information was stripped from submitted responses and each response was assigned an arbitrary participant number prior to analysis.

Ethical Approval Not online dating google scholar Informed Consent Not applicable. Being a homosexual man has also been related to sex-search motives Clemens et al. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 27 1— Google Preview. Susan D.