How often are college students using the dating app Tinder to cheat on their partners?

Psychology research recently published in Personality and Individual Differences investigated how often the popular dating platform Tinder was being used to cheat on a partner.

The study found that most Tinder users know someone who has used Tinder to cheat. Almost a third of the participants thought other people used Tinder to cheat often.

“There has not been a great deal of research on whether Tinder is actually used to facilitate infidelity. Many people assume so but as we know, not all assumptions regarding relationships are accurate so it is important to conduct scientific research to test these lay people hypotheses,” explained Dana A. Weiser, an assistant professor at Texas Tech University.

“Tinder and other mobile dating apps have changed how we meet partners so it is essential that researchers understand what these changes are precisely.”

The study of 550 college students who had used or were using Tinder found that about one in five participants admitted to talking with a person on the dating app while in an exclusive romantic relationship.

A minority of the college students even admitted that they had used Tinder to engage in infidelity. About 9 percent said they had been physically intimate with somebody they met on Tinder while in an exclusive relationship.

“As many have assumed, Tinder is utilized to meet extradyadic partners. Moreover, variables that predict engaging in infidelity offline also predict the likelihood of engaging in infidelity via Tinder,” Weiser told PsyPost.

“Specifically, sociosexuality and intentions to engage in infidelity are positively associated with using Tinder to meet outside partners,” she explained. “Once we considered those individual difference variables, no differences emerged between men and women. Participants were also quite mixed as to whether Tinder was an effective way to meet outside partners.”

The study, like all research, has some limitations.

“This was a cross-sectional study using college students so the generalizability is limited,” Weiser explained. “We also only looked at a few variables that are often associated with infidelity; other personality traits and information about the primary relationship should also be considered.”

“There are numerous questions still to be answered. For example, are the same people engaging in infidelity with partners met online as well as offline? Do these patterns hold true for older adults or individuals not enrolled in college? Do individuals in different geographic regions use Tinder more or less to engage in infidelity? Are individuals who use Tinder to engage in infidelity more or less likely to be caught?”

The study, “Swiping right: Sociosexuality, intentions to engage in infidelity, and infidelity experiences on Tinder“, was also co-authored by Sylvia Niehuis, Jeanne Flora, Narissra M. Punyanunt-Carter, Vladimir S. Arias, and R. Hannah Baird.