The Dark Side of Dating App Users (New RESEARCH!)

How many folks in my audience use, or know someone who uses, apps like Tinder to date and/or hook-up?

Well, some disturbing research was just published by Harvard University in the Journal of Eating Disorders this past April.

Harvard researchers had set out to evaluate the association between the use of dating apps, such as Tinder, Grindr, Coffee Meets Bagel, etc., and unhealthy weight control behaviors with the intent to lose fat or change one’s body shape, among U.S. adults. The evaluated behaviors included vomiting, laxative use, fasting, diet pill use, anabolic steroid use, and muscle building supplement use, such as creatine, amino acids, DHEA, and HMB.

The final sample size of this cross-sectional study was 1,726, of which 1,098 were female and 628 were male, according to the breakdown presented in Table 1 of the paper. All participants were aged between 18 and 65 years.

Researchers controlled participants for age, income, sexual orientation, sex, ethnicity, marital status, height, weight, and BMI.

What the researchers found was that anabolic steroids use was extremely common among folks who use dating apps… even the women! In fact, the women were about 13% more likely to take steroids than the men! However, the men showed a much higher prevalence of self-induced vomiting, use of laxatives, and use of diet pills than the women.

And that was quite surprising to me!

You see, I would’ve predicted steroid use to be higher among the men on dating apps, and significantly lower among the women. Whereas I would’ve predicted the women on dating apps to be the ones who’d engage in aggressive and even harmful fat loss strategies such as self-induced vomiting, laxatives, and diet pills.

So, totally not what I’d expect at all!

In any case, I am just skimming over the results. You can find the full study linked at my blog, as usual, where you can explore the data, in detail, at your leisure. And this includes breakdowns of those behavior by race, sexual orientation, income, age, etc.

Now, I do want to clarify: while this data is shocking, it is correlative, not causative.

In other words, just because someone uses a dating app doesn’t mean they will necessarily be sucked into this dark world of unhealthy behaviors.

Nonetheless, it does demonstrate that there is, at least, a particular mentality and behavioral pattern common among users of these apps.

But, as the researchers stated, future studies are recommended to explore how and why the use of dating apps MAY contribute to such unhealthy behaviors.

I mean, this certainly goes WAY beyond the typical, deceptive use of old and/or manipulated photos on dating profiles to attract interest.

Which, on a side note, is something I’ve never really understood.

I mean, the truth is going to come out sooner rather than later. After all, people get on these apps with the intent to actually MEET someone… IN PERSON.

And whoever you end up meeting is sorta going to notice that, for example, you’re 15-20 lbs. heavier than you are in your profile photo. Or that you no longer have that full head of hair that you featured in your profile photo.

Deception isn’t exactly a good first impression… know what I mean?

Anyway, leave your thoughts and comments below.


Dating app use and unhealthy weight control behaviors among a sample of U.S. adults: a cross-sectional study

Users of dating apps use anabolic steroids more often

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