Online dating apps are prevalent within dating culture, but they are also forms of social media. Although the way in which people use these apps might be more targeted than other forms of social media, it seems likely that the problems associated with social media could very well apply to dating apps too. However, this is an empirical question that begs a scientific and systematic investigation. Dating apps have a number of unique dynamics, such as being centered around romantic relationships with the users on the service and judging & being judged by others. Self-objectification, a form of extreme public self-awareness, has been tied to both social media usage and more recently to dating app usage. Prior research examining self-objectification within and between dating app users has been inconclusive; it is not clear whether more frequent dating app usage predicts self-objectification or not. The current study aimed to clarify the relationship between dating app usage and self-objectification. Data were collected from 174 college students who were active dating app users. They were polled on their frequency of dating app usage and given a self-administered self-objectification inventory online. Findings show that self-objectification differs significantly across dating app usage groups. Additionally, a moderation effect of race was found. For white participants, the more frequently they used data app, the more self-objectification they reported. For non-white participants, there was a nonlinear relationship between data app usage and self-objectification. Among non-white dating app users, low and high dating app usage groups reported higher self-objectification than the moderate dating app usage group. Limitations and implications of the study are discussed to hopefully offer insights into the relationships between dating app usage and self-objectification.
- Dating App Usage and Self-Objectification in College Students