Although the smartphone application Tinder is increasingly popular among emerging adults, no empirical study has yet investigated why emerging adults use Tinder. Therefore, we aimed to identify the primary motivations of emerging adults to use Tinder. The study was conducted among Dutch 18–30 year old emerging adults who completed an online survey. Over half of the sample were current or former Tinder users (n = 163). An exploratory factor analysis, using a parallel analysis approach, uncovered six motivations to use Tinder: Love, Casual Sex, Ease of Communication, Self-Worth Validation, Thrill of Excitement, and Trendiness. In contrast to previously suggested, the Love motivation appeared to be a stronger motivation to use Tinder than the Casual Sex motivation.
In line with literature on online dating, men were more likely to report a Casual Sex motivation for using Tinder than women. In addition, men more frequently reported Ease of Communication and Thrill of Excitement motives. With regard to age, the motivation Love, Casual Sex and Ease of Communication were positively related to age. Finally, Tinder motivations were meaningfully related to offline encounters with Tinder matches.
In sum, the study showed that emerging adults have six primary motivations to use Tinder and that these motivations differ according to one’s age and gender. Tinder should not be seen as merely a fun, hookup app without any strings attached, but as a new way for emerging adults to initiate committed romantic relationships. Notably, the findings call for a more encompassing perspective on why emerging adults use Tinder.
Sumter, S. R., Vandenbosh, L. and Ligtenberg, L. (2017). Love me Tinder: Untangling emerging adult’s motivations for using the dating application Tinder. Telematics and Informatics, 34(1), 67-78.
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