Dating App Addiction Linked to Loneliness and Social Anxiety

Dating app addiction causes loneliness and social anxiety

Addiction is not limited to drugs or alcohol. Gambling, food, sex and digital addictions are all areas of concern actively studied by researchers. All of us go online during the day whether it’s for work or pleasure, to check messages, shop, the possibilities are endless in a digital world.

Can apps become as habit-forming as an obsession with substances? They absolutely can, and some individuals become addicted to the point that it interferes with normal functioning by adversely affecting work, school and relationships.

The New Normal

Forming relationships online is common. But now researchers at Ohio State University have uncovered eye-opening data that reveals people who are addicted to dating apps are struggling with two main issues: social anxiety and loneliness.

According to the author of the study on digital addiction, Kathryn Coduto, “It’s not just that they’re using their phone a lot. We had participants who said they were missing school or work, or getting in trouble in classes or at work because they kept checking the dating apps on their phones.”

The study looked at nearly 700 subjects who used at least one dating app and answered questions about social anxiety and loneliness.

Many of the subjects acknowledged experiencing negative consequences because of overusing dating apps, including being absent from work or school.

What was most surprising about the study’s findings was that feelings of loneliness or social anxiety by themselves didn’t lead to addiction. But, the presence of both of these variables nearly always resulted in overusing social media and consequently encountering negative life consequences.

Also interesting, but not especially surprising according to the researchers, people who scored high on measures of social anxiety regularly stated that they prefer interacting with a possible date online versus doing so in person.

What is the takeaway from this significant study? 

The authors concluded that individuals who use a dating app do two things to ensure that a possible addiction does not form. First, set a limit on the amount of time spent online, and second, be aware of your mood when using an app. If you think you may be using an app due to excessive feelings of loneliness, feelings of being socially isolated, or if your use is concerning to you, it may be time to talk to a professional about what you are experiencing.

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Addiction is a chronic, progressive and potentially fatal disease. For over 50 years we have carefully provided the highest quality of care for adults, adolescents and families who suffer from, or are affected by this devastating disease.

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