Richardson, Marcus, Sarah Cannon, Lincoln Teichert, Annaleah Vance, Isabelle Kramer, Megan Barter, Jesse King, & Clark Callahan (2020, December). Religion-focused dating apps: A Q methodology study on the uses of Mutual. Telematics and Informatics, 55(3), art. 101448. (doi: 10.1016/j.tele.2020.101448) (Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tele.2020.101448)

Abstract: Dating apps have become an increasingly viable option for individuals seeking interpersonal romantic relationships. While there is significant research regarding user motivation on dating apps such as Bumble, Tinder, and Match.com, there is no published research that discusses the motivations of Mutual app users. Developed as a dating app to target members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Mutual allows users to find potential mates who share their religious background and specify their relationship readiness (from “Into Dating I Guess” to “Ready for a Ring”). This research aims to illuminate the various motivations, attitudes, and opinions of Mutual app users through Q methodology, which identifies perceptual groups among homogeneous populations through a factor analysis of participants’ agreement with similar statements regarding Mutual use. Findings indicated four factor groups: the Relationship Readies (i.e., those serious about dating), the Swipeaholics (i.e., those looking for entertainment), the Faithless (i.e., those who felt pressured to use Mutual), and the Eligible Optimists (i.e., those who saw the app as a convenient, entertaining way to date). Different from other research on dating apps, this study indicates that people may use a niche religion-focused dating app to find individuals with similar moral values or due to external pressure from others. Results warrant further investigation into niche dating apps.

Jesse King <jesseking@ucsb.edu> is in the Department of Communication, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, USA.

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