Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Dana Krieg


Tinder is a popular online dating application, the use of which can be indicative of a person's psychological state. Attachment theory is a prominent psychological theory that originated in examining the relationship between a maternal caregiver and their child but is applicable to romantic and sexual relationships as well. Attachment theory and Tinder use/motivations have been linked in previous studies but never analyzed in tandem with loneliness. During the pandemic, when loneliness is particularly rampant, this study seeks to address whether the relationship between Tinder use and attachment status are moderated by loneliness, particularly for those with certain at-risk demographic features. This study had 220 participants and confirmed the already established relationship between attachment theory and tinder use/motivations, but also found that loneliness plays a role in the relationship. Social approval, flirting/social skills, pass time/entertainment, and distraction motives were higher for securely attached individuals than fearfully attached individuals. Loneliness was highest for securely attached individuals and lowest for fearfully attached individuals. Loneliness and attachment predicted variation in problematic use as well as motives of social approval, distraction, pass time/entertainment, socializing, and flirting/social skills. Attachment security and the interaction between attachment and loneliness were significant in predicting changes in socializing and flirting/social skills motives. Men displayed more social approval and pass time/entertainment motives than women. Heterosexual participants displayed lower problematic use but higher social approval motives, and flirting/social skill motives than bisexual participants. This study created a new understanding of how loneliness in the pandemic has shifted the way that college students treat their online interactions.

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All rights reserved. This copy is provided to the Kenyon Community solely for individual academic use. For any other use, please contact the copyright holder for permission.