Personality and the use of Dating Apps

Personality and the use of Dating Apps.

Personality and the use of Dating Apps

The use of dating applications has been gaining greater use in the recent years. This is partly attributed the fact that people are getting more occupied with other matters such as career and education and seemingly neglecting the search for partners with whom they can get intimate. The cost of obtaining this romance has also gone reasonable low, leading to a rise in the instances where even younger people in colleges can afford the services using online applications (Coyne, Padilla-Walker, and Howard, 2013). In this current study, we are interested in testing how some aspects of personality relate to the use of dating applications. The personality trait that will be under consideration will be openness, and its relationship with dating app usage will be established. Additionally, people who are involved in using the dating applications have different motivations that range from looking for casual sex, seeking love, creating convenience, or seeking to boost their confidence or self-esteem (Mull and Lee, 2014). To establish whether there is any relationship between the boosting self-esteem among the different gender identities, a test will also be conducted.

Therefore, there are two main hypotheses that will be tested. This include:

Hypothesis 1

It was hypothesized that study respondents who often do not use the dating apps would have higher rating scores for openness than those who are currently using the online dating apps or used the app previously but not using it currently.

Hypothesis 2

It was also hypothesized that participants the correlation between openness and self-esteem boost among males and females will be significant.


To address the first research hypothesis, one-way analysis of variance procedure was utilized. Since the data consisted of two types of variables, that is, a continuous variable (openness) and categorical variable (dating app use), analysis of variance procedure were used to test whether openness was the same across all the categories of dating app usage. The table below shows the results from the analysis:


Table 1: Mean rating of Openness by categories of Dating App Use

Please select the following that most apply to you:MeanNStd. Deviation
I am currently using a dating app5.04651.11
I am not currently using a dating app but I have in the past5.11850.96
I have never used a dating app5.15941.20


The table above indicates the means per category of the dating app use. It is clear from the table that most of the respondents (94) said that have never used dating apps while 65 said they were currently using the app and 85 said that they have used the app in the past but not using it currently. Apparently, the means of the scores were close together and their standard deviations were small. For those currently using the dating apps, their mean score rating for openness was the lowest (M = 5.04, SD = 1.11) with the second highest standard deviation.  It is also clear that those who had never used the dating apps had the highest mean score rating for openness (M = 5.16, SD = 1.20) nut with the highest standard deviation. Those who had used a dating app previously but not using it currently had the moderate mean rating for openness (M = 5.11, SD = 0.96) with the lowest standard deviation.

Figure 1: Bar Chart of means of openness by Dating App Use


The ANOVA procedure was used to determine whether the numerical differences were any different. The results are shown below:

Table 2: Analysis of Variance table

Sum of SquaresdfMean SquareFSig.
Between Groups.402.20.16.85
Within Groups290.392411.21


The Fisher’s statistic was small, (F = 0.164, p = 0.849), which implies that the numerical differences were not significant.

To test hypothesis 2, correlation test was conducted to establish whether there was a relationship between openness and self-esteem scores with respect to gender identities. The results are presented in the table below:

Table 3: Correlation between self esteem and openness for males

Boost self esteemOpenness
Boost self esteemPearson Correlation-.051
Sig. (2-tailed).716
OpennessPearson Correlation-.051
Sig. (2-tailed).716

Openness and self-esteem boost among the males were negatively correlated although this correlation was not significant. More so, the correlation between self-esteem boost and openness among the females was also examined and the results are presented below:

Table 4: Correlation between openness and self esteem among females

Boost self esteemOpenness
Boost self esteem



*. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).


It emerged that there was a positive relationship between openness and self-esteem boost for females. This implied that as the self-esteem increased, the ladies were more open in personality.





Openness is among the big five traits in personality theories. It is the trait that shows how open minded a person really is. People who are open are likely to try out new things; therefore, they are more often regarded to as being imaginative as well as curious (Goldberg, 1993). Based on the results obtained above, it is clear that there is no significant difference in the openness scores for those who use online dating apps, those who do not, and those who used the apps previously but are not using them currently. This implies that online dating does not affect the openness of a person, based on the results. This lack of difference in the openness scores could imply that the respondents have used online services for another purpose other than looking for partners for whatever reason (Kooiman and Latten, 2014). Additionally, it is also an indication that their participation in different events either in college or at work keeps them occupied, and that openness may not be a consideration for most of the people using online dating applications. Furthermore, it could be an implication that openness increases during face-to-face encounters with a partner compared to when dating is done online without the physical contact with the partner. In this regard, the first research hypothesis can be rejected since the findings are contradictory to the proposition.

However, according to Couch and Liamputtong (2008), it is possible that openness plays a major role in determining the online dating behavior of a person. Considering the numerical differences that exist, it is clear that those who have never used a dating app have higher ratings for openness compared to those who have used the app, whether currently or in the past. Similarly, it was also observed that those who had used the apps previously but not using them currently had a higher average score rating for openness compared to those using the app currently. Combining these two scenarios, it is clear that the use of online dating app can lead to lower openness scores, without considering the significance tests for the differences.This implies that using online dating apps may hinder the capability to explore new things marginally. Nevertheless, the significance test confirms that that openness may not be related to online dating at all.

It is important to note that there is a risk when using the online dating application since there is the likelihood of certain individuals to fake their personality, making some traits such as agreeableness and openness more prominent than their real traits. This is mainly attributed to the fact that online dating predominantly depends on of text messages compared to voice and video communication (Lawson and Leck, 2006). As such, it is likely that people will tend to appear more adventurous and curious that they really are in real life. This implies that the trait of openness may be falsely detected as people tend to create positive impressions about themselves in pursuit of convincing their partners about their personality. Furthermore, the daters on these platforms may have different preferences. For instance, there are those who prefer people with similar traits as theirs while others prefer people with different traits than theirs. Therefore, the people with higher openness may prefer others with high openness, which may compel some daters to fake this trait. The reverse may also happen where people with low openness may prefer people with low openness, leading to hiding the trait from their partners for compatibility.

The relationship between openness and boosting self-esteem with respect to gender was also examined. The results indicated that there was a significant difference among the genders. Based on the results obtained, the females exhibited a significant positive correlation between openness and self-esteem boost while males exhibited a negative but insignificant correlation. Apparently, the online dating services are dominated by males; therefore, the results were unexpected in this regard. Additionally, since there is a general perception that heterosexuals are more than another group of sexual orientation, the next largest group of the users of the online dating service through the application are females (Blackhart, Fitzpatrick, and Williamson, 2014). Therefore, the research hypothesis was confirmed by the results.

Research from various studies indicates that males have the tendency to report higher self-esteem compared to their female counterparts. This is usually observed from the adolescent’s age into adulthood (Arnett, 2000). Nevertheless, the self-esteem seems to diminish among the males in old age. However, it is important to note that the differences observed in self-esteem with regard to gender are not apparent in the childhood age but they set in during adolescents as the ladies experience more changes in the bodies compared to the gentlemen (Arnett, 2004). It is clear from the descriptive statistics of the sample that all the participants in the survey were aged between 18 years and 25 years. Since this is the age at which young adulthood sets in, the results are expected to be as they are. However, it emerged that transgender participants had lower self-esteem that those who identified as just male or female. This is partly because being a male with many feminine characteristics or being female with more masculine characteristics could lead to stigmatization and other forms of discrimination, leading to the low self-esteem. Similarly, withholding gender identity and identifying as “other” is a clear indication that some participants, and those in the in the general target population, are not comfortable with their personal identity, leading to the low levels of self-esteem as observed. There are many reasons why the failed to give gender identity, but the fact remains that they are disgraced with gender issues.

Limitations and Implications of the study

The current study makes very important findings that can be used as a basis for further investigation on matters pertaining to personality and the use of online dating applications. However, the validity of the results may be contentious since the sample size comprised of a non-random sample. More so, the data was collected from one age group, therefore, the results cannot be generalized to an entire population of the people using the online dating applications. Apparently, the research has revealed that there is not a difference in the openness level of the people who are using the online dating applications, those not using them, and those who used the applications previously. Therefore, the relationship between openness and online dating cannot be established from the preliminary information obtained. It would be prudent to find out what factors contribute to such a scenario while some studies reveal the likelihood of a relationship. Additionally, it would be important to find out whether gender differences interact with other factors to contribute to the differences in levels of self-esteem among the users of the online dating services.


The results indicate that there is no difference in the openness levels depending on the dating app use. Additionally, the study has revealed that gender has a positive relationship with self-esteem as a motivation to use the dating applications. Therefore, the first research hypothesis was rejected while the second hypothesis was accepted. However, more research is required to validate these findings.



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Blackhart, G. C., Fitzpatrick, J., & Williamson, J. (2014). Dispositional factors predicting use of online dating sites and behaviors related to online dating, Computers in Human Behaviour, 33, 113-118, doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2014.01.022

Couch, D., &Liamputtong, P. (2007). Online dating and mating: Perceptions of risk and health among online users.Health, Risk, and Society, 9, 275–294.

Coyne, S. M., Padilla-Walker, L. M., & Howard, E. (2013). Emerging in a digital world: A decade review of media use, effects, and gratifications in emerging adulthood, Emerging Adulthood, 1, 125-137, doi: 10.1177/2167696813479782

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Mull, I. R., & Lee, S. E. (2014). “PIN” pointing the motivational dimensions behind Pinterest, Computers in Human Behaviour, 33, 192-200, doi: 10.1016//j.chb.2014.01.011

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Personality and the use of Dating Apps

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