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The Trouble With Tinder: Emerging Adults With Disabilities Dating Online

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  • Pennsylvania State University Greater Allegheny
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Abstract

Although research indicates that almost all emerging adults in the U.S. use the internet, little is known about the online dating experiences of persons with disabilities. Particularly in developed countries, online dating currently accounts for a substantial proportion of the initiation of romantic relationships and promises numerous advantages for persons with disabilities. Online dating includes a way to escape disability stigma, at least initially, access to a wide network of potential partners, and a convenient, private, and efficient method of meeting them. Online daters can be strategic in how they present both themselves and their disabilities, the manner in which they communicate with potential partners, and whether they join a large, popular dating site or a specialized disability-oriented one. The chapter discusses how the nine-step process of online dating might differ for or challenge emerging adults with various types of disabilities, sharing relevant research and media examples when available. The implications of popular mobile dating apps are also considered.

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For the 54 million Americans living with disabilities, negative attitudes foster biased communication and barriers to social, political, and economic integration. Using self-reports of hearing-abled individuals (N = 234), this study takes an intergroup approach to explore factors surrounding attitudes toward communicative interactions with profoundly hearing impaired and deaf individuals (PHIDIs). Findings confirm the intergroup contact hypothesis (Allport, 19541. Allport , G. W. ( 1954 ). The nature of prejudice . Reading , MA : Addison-Wesley . View all references) in this particular context while introducing social dominance as a construct of great utility to intergroup theorizing. Attitudes were less negative for hearing individuals with less intergroup anxiety, lower social dominance orientation, and more communication contact with profoundly hearing impaired/deaf individuals. Finally, differences among communication, cognition, and attitudes were assessed in terms of biological sex and the decision to enroll in a Manual Communication course. The results of these analyses indicate that males are higher in social dominance orientation, and that females and individuals enrolled in Manual Communication courses have more positive attitudes toward PHIDIs.
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Accessible summaryLots of people use the Internet to make friends and talk to friends.We behave in certain ways because of how people talk to us and treat us.Some people use Facebook on the Internet to stay in touch with their friends and make new friends. This can be a very good experience.Some other people have had problems when using social networking sites like Facebook.Some people have been bullied online and some have had money taken off them.We spoke to three people who have had good and bad things happen on Facebook.We have suggested some ideas on how to help people with these problems. SummarySocial identity has traditionally been established through face-to-face interactions. However, in recent times, social networking sites have provided an additional medium through which social identities can be developed and explored. Social networking has become increasingly popular over the past decade, attracting millions of active users worldwide. These sites offer an opportunity to maintain friendships, create new friendships and even date. The following article highlights the positive and negative experiences of three people with learning disabilities using social networking sites. The negative experiences reported by our service users highlighted areas of concern with regard to their safety. As a result, a therapeutic group was formed to address these online experiences and provide practical and emotional support. At the end of the group, service users reported that they were more confident about discussing and problem solving issues around online use.
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The present study examined how gender and disability stereotypes interact to influence social judgments. We predicted that people would judge a woman with physical disability more negatively than a woman with intellectual disability, but that there would be a less pronounced difference for judgments of men with physical and intellectual disability. Participants (N=173) read short descriptions of a male or female character who was physically or intellectually disabled. They evaluated the character’s warmth and competence and reported how much social distance they wanted from the character. Contrary to our expectations, participants reported significantly less desire for social distance from physically disabled women than intellectually disabled women. As predicted, evaluations of men were not affected by the type of disability the target character possessed.
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This article explores gendered patterns of online dating and their implications for heterosexual union formation. Using 6 months of online dating data from a midsized Southwestern city (N = 8,259 men, 6,274 women), the authors found that men and women tend to send messages to the most socially desirable alters in the dating market regardless of their own desirability levels. They also found that male initiators connect with more desirable partners than men who wait to be contacted, but female initiators connect with equally desirable partners as women who wait to be contacted. Female-initiated contacts are also more than twice as likely as male-initiated contacts to result in a connection, but women send 4 times fewer messages than men. Finally, the authors compared partner desirability levels over repeated exchanges and concluded that couple similarities are more likely to result from relationship termination (i.e., nonreciprocity) than initial homophilous preferences.
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The United States is a rapidly diversifying country with ethnic minorities comprising over a quarter of the US population. By the year 2050, over half of the United States will be ethnic minority, underscoring the importance of better understanding race relations and willingness to date intra- and inter-racially. Data from 2,123 online dating profiles were randomly collected from four racial groups (Asian, Black, Latino, and White). Results indicated that willingness to date intra-racially was generally high and that willingness to date inter-racially was lower and influenced by racial social status. Because men evidenced an overall high willingness to date inter-racially, women’s willingness to out-date provided a more accurate depiction of racial social status and exchange. Women of higher racial status groups were less willing than those from lower status groups to outdate. Results are explored and discussed in relation to different theories of interpersonal attraction and dating.
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We examined the development of intimate relationships in 180 adolescents with visual impairment (VI) and 533 sighted peers. Adolescents with VI reported a later age at the time of first falling in love, dating, and entering into a romantic relationship. However, between-group differences in the timing of first sexual intercourse were not significant. In addition, similar numbers of adolescents from both groups had experiences with falling in love and having romantic relations at the time of assessment. The two groups differed in the criteria for mate selection, and emotional maturity was more important for young people with VI than for their sighted peers while the reverse was found for physical attractiveness and material resources of potential partners. Finally, the two groups did not differ in the perceived quality of their present romantic relationship.
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Researchers consistently find that the experience of disability in childhood can influence future life trajectories, particularly with regard to economic and educational outcomes. However, relatively little research has been conducted to explore the effect of disability on other dimensions of the transition to adulthood: namely, its effect on family-formation outcomes. This study uses data from waves I and IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in order to assess the effect of various types of disabilities on the likelihood and timing of entry into a first marriage. Both bivariate and multivariate models show that individuals who have a disabling condition have a lower chance of entry into a first marriage than do individuals who do not have a disability. However, further analysis reveals that not all types of disabilities have the same effect on the chances of marriage-individuals with learning disabilities and those with multiple disabilities are at a significantly lower hazard of entry into a first marriage than are their peers without disabilities.
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This paper examines how disabled people construct self-identity and negotiate disclosure of impairment in the online dating environment. Grounded theory was used to code and analyze 108 responses to an online open-ended questionnaire completed by disabled people who engaged in online dating. Findings reveal that while the body and impairment may not be present in digital space, it plays an important role in how disabled people present themselves online. This paper suggests that the embodied/disembodied dichotomy that has been traditionally used to distinguish offline and online interaction is blurred in the online dating environment.
Online dating sites frequently claim that they have fundamentally altered the dating landscape for the better. This article employs psychological science to examine (a) whether online dating is fundamentally different from conventional offline dating and (b) whether online dating promotes better romantic outcomes than conventional offline dating. The answer to the first question (uniqueness) is yes, and the answer to the second question (superiority) is yes and no. To understand how online dating fundamentally differs from conventional offline dating and the circumstances under which online dating promotes better romantic outcomes than conventional offline dating, we consider the three major services online dating sites offer: access, communication, and matching. Access refers to users' exposure to and opportunity to evaluate potential romantic partners they are otherwise unlikely to encounter. Communication refers to users' opportunity to use various forms of computer-mediated communication (CMC) to interact with specific potential partners through the dating site before meeting face-to-face. Matching refers to a site's use of a mathematical algorithm to select potential partners for users. Regarding the uniqueness question, the ways in which online dating sites implement these three services have indeed fundamentally altered the dating landscape. In particular, online dating, which has rapidly become a pervasive means of seeking potential partners, has altered both the romantic acquaintance process and the compatibility matching process. For example, rather than meeting potential partners, getting a snapshot impression of how well one interacts with them, and then slowly learning various facts about them, online dating typically involves learning a broad range of facts about potential partners before deciding whether one wants to meet them in person. Rather than relying on the intuition of village elders, family members, or friends or to select which pairs of unacquainted singles will be especially compatible, certain forms of online dating involve placing one's romantic fate in the hands of a mathematical matching algorithm. Turning to the superiority question, online dating has important advantages over conventional offline dating. For example, it offers unprecedented (and remarkably convenient) levels of access to potential partners, which is especially helpful for singles who might otherwise lack such access. It also allows online daters to use CMC to garner an initial sense of their compatibility with potential partners before deciding whether to meet them face-to-face. In addition, certain dating sites may be able to collect data that allow them to banish from the dating pool people who are likely to be poor relationship partners in general. On the other hand, the ways online dating sites typically implement the services of access, communication, and matching do not always improve romantic outcomes; indeed, they sometimes undermine such outcomes. Regarding access, encountering potential partners via online dating profiles reduces three-dimensional people to two-dimensional displays of information, and these displays fail to capture those experiential aspects of social interaction that are essential to evaluating one's compatibility with potential partners. In addition, the ready access to a large pool of potential partners can elicit an evaluative, assessment-oriented mindset that leads online daters to objectify potential partners and might even undermine their willingness to commit to one of them. It can also cause people to make lazy, ill-advised decisions when selecting among the large array of potential partners. Regarding communication, although online daters can benefit from having short-term CMC with potential partners before meeting them face-to-face, longer periods of CMC prior to a face-to-face meeting may actually hurt people's romantic prospects. In particular, people tend to overinterpret the social cues available in CMC, and if CMC proceeds unabated without a face-to-face reality check, subsequent face-to-face meetings can produce unpleasant expectancy violations. As CMC lacks the experiential richness of a face-to-face encounter, some important information about potential partners is impossible to glean from CMC alone; most users will want to meet a potential partner in person to integrate their CMC and face-to-face impressions into a coherent whole before pursuing a romantic relationship. Regarding matching, no compelling evidence supports matching sites' claims that mathematical algorithms work-that they foster romantic outcomes that are superior to those fostered by other means of pairing partners. Part of the problem is that matching sites build their mathematical algorithms around principles-typically similarity but also complementarity-that are much less important to relationship well-being than has long been assumed. In addition, these sites are in a poor position to know how the two partners will grow and mature over time, what life circumstances they will confront and coping responses they will exhibit in the future, and how the dynamics of their interaction will ultimately promote or undermine romantic attraction and long-term relationship well-being. As such, it is unlikely that any matching algorithm that seeks to match two people based on information available before they are aware of each other can account for more than a very small proportion of the variance in long-term romantic outcomes, such as relationship satisfaction and stability. In short, online dating has radically altered the dating landscape since its inception 15 to 20 years ago. Some of the changes have improved romantic outcomes, but many have not. We conclude by (a) discussing the implications of online dating for how people think about romantic relationships and for homogamy (similarity of partners) in marriage and (b) offering recommendations for policymakers and for singles seeking to make the most out of their online dating endeavors.
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This article analyzed 124 blogs, chronological, journal-type entries published on public hosting Web sites, as new and popular places for adolescents and emerging adults aged 15 to 19 to play openly with their self-presentation, an important aspect of identity exploration. Findings indicate that most young persons write emotionally toned entries; focus on their daily activities, friends, and romantic relationships; and describe themselves, but less frequently their experiences, positively. Bloggers often alter content and appearance of their Web pages, most commonly with photographs of themselves. Number of friends ranges widely, and most blog entries receive no or one comment, most of which are supportive. The article also describes and discusses gender and age differences and concludes that blogs written by adolescents and young emerging adults are less about direct interaction with others than about careful self-presentation.
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We hypothesized that people who can better disclose their “true” or inner self to others on the Internet than in face-to-face settings will be more likely to form close relationships on-line and will tend to bring those virtual relationships into their “real” lives. Study 1, a survey of randomly selected Internet newsgroup posters, showed that those who better express their true self over the Internet were more likely than others to have formed close on-line relationships and moved these friendships to a face-to-face basis. Study 2 revealed that the majority of these close Internet relationships were still intact 2 years later. Finally, a laboratory experiment found that undergraduates liked each other more following an Internet compared to a face-to-face initial meeting.
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Those who feel better able to express their “true selves” in Internet rather than face-to-face interaction settings are more likely to form close relationships with people met on the Internet (McKenna, Green, & Gleason, this issue). Building on these correlational findings from survey data, we conducted three laboratory experiments to directly test the hypothesized causal role of differential self-expression in Internet relationship formation. Experiments 1 and 2, using a reaction time task, found that for university undergraduates, the true-self concept is more accessible in memory during Internet interactions, and the actual self more accessible during face-to-face interactions. Experiment 3 confirmed that people randomly assigned to interact over the Internet (vs. face to face) were better able to express their true-self qualities to their partners.
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Purpose: This study investigates experiences of dating and intimate relationships amongst women who use a below-knee prosthesis. Method: Four women took part in semi-structured online interviews. Transcripts were subject to interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Results: Five themes were identified: Revealing and Exposing: Disclosing the Amputation and Prosthesis; Judging and Judged: Internal Fears and Self-Doubt; Trusting and Accepting: Good Guy/Bad Guy Elimination; Taking it Further: The Need for Depth; and Realisation: Accepting and Feeling Accepted. Participants described how, despite negative feelings towards their appearance and body image, they chose not to conceal their prosthesis when dating. Rather, it was used as a means of screening potential partners in their search for deep and meaningful relationships. Realising that others were not prejudiced towards people who use a prosthetic had helped them become more comfortable with their own prosthesis. Conclusion: These findings suggest that facilitating contact with other below-knee amputees and, in some cases specialist support, could help those who are struggling with the challenges they face regarding dating and intimate relationships. They also highlight the need for researchers and clinicians to give more attention to these important aspects of amputees' lives. Implications for Rehabilitation Amputation can have a significant psychosocial impact for those affected. The relative invisibility of below-knee amputation and prostheses can present particular challenges for amputees looking to establish romantic and intimate relationships, particularly around when and how to disclose the limb loss to potential partners. Developing a sense of resilience to the reactions of other people can help those who have undergone below-knee amputation. Support for people affected by below-knee amputation should routinely consider their needs and concerns in relation to new and established relationships, offer specialist psychosocial input when needed and provide opportunities for support from other amputees.
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Purpose An online survey was carried out with the purpose of finding out the extent to which internet users subscribe to online dating services. The paper aims to assess users' experiences of such services and their eventual outcomes. Design/methodology/approach Data were obtained through a self‐completion online questionnaire survey posted on the website of a leading internet research agency, utilising its online panel of c. 30,000 UK respondents. Findings More than 3,800 online panellists responded of whom 29 per cent said they had used an online dating site. Most of these respondents (90 per cent) had spent up to £200 on internet dating in the past two years, with 70 per cent of users achieving at least one date, 43 per cent enjoying at least one sexual relationship, and 9 per cent finding a marriage partner. Research limitations/implications Despite the limitations over sample control of self‐completion surveying, a large online sample was achieved that indicated the growing importance of the internet for finding social and even sexual companionship. Practical implications Data indicate the kinds of factors that are important to internet daters in choosing online dating agencies and that drive eventual satisfaction with service received. Originality/value This survey provides original and up‐to‐date findings on a growing online and social phenomenon and represents one of the largest surveys of its kind yet carried out in the UK.