A study has found a link between dating apps and depression

·2-min read

A report released last year revealed that 1.85 million of us Brits are on Tinder, with the average user clicking onto the app at least 11 times each day. Clearly, we're a nation looking for love, but a recent study has revealed that our reliance on dating apps is having an impact on our mental health.

According to the study – that was shared in the Sexes medical journal – dating app users are more likely to experience symptoms of depression as well as hyper-sexuality. More commonly know as "sex addiction", hyper-sexuality involves obsessive sexual thoughts and urges in addition to compulsive sexual behavior.

As well as the link between dating apps and depression and/or hyper-sexuality, the study also found that those experiencing these symptoms could be using dating apps as a coping mechanism.

"The use of dating applications is widespread, and in some cases could be associated with psychosexological issues," the report (lead by Giacomo Ciocca, a researcher and assistant professor at Sapienza, University of Rome) said. "Hence, we decided to investigate hyper-sexual behavior and depression symptoms among dating app users and non-users."

The report continued: "We primarily found higher levels of hyper-sexual behavior and depression symptoms in dating app users compared to non-users."

Photo credit: Willie B. Thomas - Getty Images
Photo credit: Willie B. Thomas - Getty Images

Elsewhere, the study's report revealed that investigations had "highlighted the high prevalence of major depression, anxiety and general distress in young people using dating apps. In some cases, these psychological issues negatively involve the perception of self through lower levels of self-esteem, and impairment of body image and satisfaction."

It continued: "This investigation shows for the first time a strong association between dating app use, hyper-sexual behavior and depression symptoms. This evidence could mean that some hyper-sexual and/or depressed individuals recurringly use dating apps to alleviate their psychological and sexological suffering.

"It is also possible to consider the role of dating apps as a 'transitional object', providing security, emotional well-being and symbolic connection with a valued other, for some users attempting to cope with their internal depressive feelings by having sex.

"In light of these considerations, it would be appropriate to consider dating apps as a place to eventually promote psychological, relationship and sexological health."

For information, support and advice about mental health and where to get support, visit Mind’s website at www.mind.org.uk or call Mind’s Infoline on 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 6.00pm).

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