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Swiping for Love?

A study about how personality and sexual orientation influence whether and why young German adults use dating apps.

At a time when face-to-face communication is almost impossible due to contact restrictions, dating apps have become more popular than ever before. Due to the corona crisis, dating apps are one of the only ways to meet a potential partner. The question arises: What motivates individuals to use the apps for other reasons and what are their motivations? For this purpose, the influence of personality traits and sexual orientation on the use of dating apps was investigated among young adults between the ages of 18 and 29. The sample consists of 258 young German adults. The Big Five personality traits as well as 13 motivations for dating app use were measured and compared between current, former, and non-users of dating apps. Last, the influence of sexual orientation on personality and usage motivations was examined.

It was found that former users used dating apps more often out of curiosity, and that non-heterosexual individuals more often used dating apps to meet individuals with the same sexual orientation. For the influence of personality traits on usage motives, some former findings could be confirmed. On top of that, new correlations were found, which are critically discussed in the paper. The study contributes to understanding what entices young adults to use dating apps. Future studies should take into consideration to focus on other identity factors, such as personal opinions and the personal environment.