New study suggests that dating apps may lead to eating disorders due to weight-loss pressures

Don't let dating apps get the best of your confidence
Don't let dating apps get the best of your confidence

But this study finds that it does.

Online dating sites or dating apps as we've come to know them, were created for convenience and allowing total strangers to connect with one another for a variety of reasons, which is tons of fun and even a little exciting.

However, one has to admit, the online dating world can be pretty daunting.

Finding someone suitable among people who lie about who they are, what their intentions are, and even how tall or short they are takes a lot of patience, determination and not to mention, caution.

And just when we thought it couldn't get any harder, a recent study found that women who use dating apps are more likely to have eating disorders as a result of wanting to lose weight.

This after a 2016 study found that college students who used dating apps had lower self-esteem than those who didn't.

Like any other app that allows one to look at (and judge) another's physical appearance- think Instagram or Facebook, these dating apps have a similar effect and often leave people feeling unsatisfied with themselves.

READ MORE: Thinking about giving up on online dating? These love stories might change your mind

The study which was published by the Journal of Eating disorders, was conducted using information from 1769 adults who were asked to complete a survey in which they were questioned about how frequently they used dating apps, and then subsequently engaged in unhealthy weight control behaviours such as [bulimia], laxative usage, diet pill usage and fasting among others.

They then compared this data to people who did not use dating apps and found that the number of people who used dating apps were 26.9 times more likely to use an unhealthy weight loss method than non-app users.

The lead author of the study Dr Alvin Tran, has however said that dating apps are not directly linked to the usage of unhealthy weight loss methods, but does however advise that people who already have eating disorders be warned.

"While we do not know if the people in our study were already engaging in these weight control behaviours before using dating apps, we worry that the use of these image and appearance-focused services could exacerbate those behaviours.

"With the tremendous growth in dating app usage... and an increasing number of studies linking their use to body image concerns and unhealthy weight control behaviours, there is a need to further understand how dating apps influence health behaviours and outcomes," said Dr Alvin.

So how exactly do you bag that date without bruising your self-esteem?

Johannesburg-based psychologist David Wilson, says to join the dating site knowing your purpose for it. 

"Decide what you're there for and then focus on that. So for instance, you're looking for a fun loving long term relationship, focus on people who share those sentiments. Don't pursue anything with people whose values are different.

"This could lead to you latching onto someone who will eventually end up disappointing you which ultimately leads to you questioning your worth which, in turn, results in you resorting to unhealthy weight loss methods," he advises.

He also advises that you allow yourself a breather from dating apps once you start feeling like you aren't enough.

"Experiencing rejection or too slow of a response from a love interest on a dating app tends to warp a person's sense of self-esteem and the results of that are detrimental. 

READ MORE: The guy I wish I swiped left on (and the one I'm glad I swiped right)

"Taking a break every now and then to do some confidence building activities such as practising positive affirmations or surrounding yourself with people who love you can help you get back that confidence that you need."

Lastly David says to believe in yourself;

"Know your worth and don't settle for anything less. These apps are designed to connect people who can appreciate each other. Should you come across someone who does not appreciate you, or value you, discard them/their opinion and move along.

"While it isn't always easy to ignore negative commentary, you can teach yourself resilience by reassuring and believing in yourself."

Do you find dating apps more daunting than fun? 

Share your thoughts with us here.

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