More and more individuals hunt for information on and reach out to potential romantic partners through mobile dating applications available on their smartphones. Although these emerging technologies offer social benefits, certain individuals become overly dependent on such applications and suffer from negative outcomes. Relatively little research in online dating to date has investigated what predicts problematic use of such social technologies. Building upon the cognitive-behavioral model of problematic Internet use and the social skill model, we examined the relationship between social anxiety, the problematic use of dating applications, and the possible moderating role of loneliness with an online survey (N = 269) conducted with a college student sample. The data did not provide support for serial mediation predicted by the social skills model (social anxiety influencing negative outcomes serially through preference for online social interaction (POSI) and compulsive use) but provided support for moderated serial mediation. Specifically, the serial mediation predicted by the social skills model was significant only among those high in loneliness, with the positive association between POSI and compulsive use being significant among those high in loneliness. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science