Social compensation or social enhancement? A path model connecting rejection sensitivity and loneliness for Chinese online dating applications users

Sihao Yang, Vincent Huang, Li Zhong*, Xudong Liu, Ruci Zhong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Rejection-sensitive people may find online dating an ideal way to explore romantic relationships because of its relatively low social cost and their high control of impression management. However, they may also experience negative events during online dating, such as cyberbullying, which may lead to self-blame and social concessions. This study investigates the compensating and enhancing effects of online dating on rejection-sensitive people. Findings from an online survey of 459 users of mainstream online dating applications in China reveal a positive relationship between rejection sensitivity and the use of online dating applications. The increased use of online dating applications is positively associated with cyberbullying victimization, further contributing to loneliness. These findings support both the social compensation and enhancement hypothesis in the context of online dating, especially for individuals with deficit social competence and psychological vulnerability. This study extends existing research by uncovering a paradoxical mechanism that explains how online dating affects vulnerable individuals' well-being. Online dating product design should consider protecting specific groups of users from being cyberbullied.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107929
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume149
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Psychology(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Rejection sensitivity
  • Loneliness
  • Online dating application
  • Cyberbullying victimization
  • China

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