Social anxiety and depression may lead to greater use of dating apps, finds new study
December 22nd, 2020
Filed under: Anxiety disorder, Depression, Mental Health by ATAC Team

There is an intrinsic co-relation between using dating apps and mental health conditions like depression and social anxiety. According to data released by the Pew Research Center in February 2020, 30 percent adults in the U.S. have used a dating site or an app. Further, as per a survey by Statista, there had been over six million subscribers inTinder, another dating app, in the first quarter of 2020, making it the most popular among the apps currently.

But why do people use a dating app? Although there could be several reasons for using a dating app, a recent study points towards an underlying psychological association that drives individuals to use a dating app. This study, from the Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, specifically explores the link between social anxiety, depression, and dating apps.The research claims that there is a co-relation between social anxiety and depression and a more extensive use of dating apps.

“With increased symptoms of social anxiety and depression, women may be even more likely to turn to technology for social connection, especially if alternative forms of social contact are reduced due to social avoidance,” said Senior author Martin Antony, from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada.

Positive association between social anxiety, dating and dating apps

Earlier studies have deduced the various reasons why people resort to using dating apps extensively in their lives. So, why do people use dating apps? Research suggests there are six things people who use dating apps hope to attain. These include:

  • love
  • casual sex
  • ease of communication
  • self-worth validation
  • thrill of excitement
  • trendiness

The prevailing theory is put to test in the new research to look at the positive link between social anxiety and depression with a greater use of dating apps.

The researchers predicted positive associations between social anxiety and depression and a desire for:

  • Easy communication for men, associated with the anxiety in asking potential partners for a date, which is traditionally looked upon as a male responsibility.
  • Equal love for both genders
  • Enhanced self-worth, equally for both genders
  • The thrill of excitement, especially for men
  • Possibility of casual sex, especially for men

However, the study authors also said that there could be a negative outcome as well, an association between social anxiety, depression, and contacting dating app matches equally for both genders.

The researchers asked the participants to fill out a questionnaire, the 17-question Social Phobia Inventory (SPIN), in which a person described the anxiety they had experienced in social situations over the past week. The study researchers acknowledged that the SPIN surveywas usedfor its usefulness as a psychometric yardstick.

Additionally, the candidates completed the equally important and well-regarded 21-question Depression Anxiety Stress Scales survey for measuring anxiety, depressive symptoms, and stress.

The study authors also made the participants complete the Tinder Motives Scale survey, which is a great measure of the six Tinder motives for the individual. However, the researchers left out trendiness as they considered the survey ineffective for measuring its significance.

In order to access the use of dating apps of the individuals the scientists used the Online Dating Inventory questionnaire for the survey.

The researchers found that social anxiety and depression are not interchangeable, and were variously linked, or not, with different motives for using dating apps.

The study authors concluded that they cannot find out whether social anxiety and depression lead to greater dating app use or the other way around, suggesting this open question would benefit from further research.

Seeking help for mental health

Whether there is any association between using any app and mental health condition, it is important that whosoever is grappling with any mental health issue, including social anxiety and depression, should seek immediate help from an expert. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, more than 18 percent, that is, 40 million Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder. Further, it is not uncommon for someone suffering from anxiety disorder to also be diagnosed with depression and vice versa.

If you or a loved one are displaying symptoms of anxiety disorder, contact the Anxiety Treatment Advisors of Colorado. We offer evidence-based treatment programs that help treat the mental health condition effectively. Call our 24/7 helpline number (866) 891-2539 and speak with an admission counselor about the credible anxiety disorder treatment programs we offer. Alternatively, you can also chat with a trained representative to know more about depression treatment programs.

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