Author ORCID Identifier
Year of Publication
Master of Science in Family Sciences (MSFS)
Agriculture, Food and Environment
Dr. Ronald Werner-Wilson
The use of dating applications (apps) to find romantic and sexual partners is widespread across age groups, however, there is a paucity of research on dating apps with those in middle adulthood. Sexual script theory suggests that women’s agency (i.e. the ability to act in one’s own best interest) may be impacted by expectations from an inherently sexualized context, such as dating apps. Feminist theory contends that women’s agency is complicated by gender socialization due to the imbalance of power in society that greatly favors men. In this study seventeen women aged 30 to 49 completed in-depth semi-structured interviews, and their responses were analyzed using reflexive thematic analysis. Data analysis resulted in identifying themes related to how dating apps pose challenges to women’s agency, the casual nature of apps, positive aspects of dating apps in general and specific to women’s agency, differences and similarities to meeting in-person, and how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting dating app experiences. These results highlight the complicated process of navigating dating app use for women aged 30 to 49 and call for cultural changes relating to gender socialization.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
This research was supported in part by the Chellgren Endowment, Department of Family Sciences. Additionally, I received partial funding from the John I. & Patricia J. Buster Fellowship (Fall 2020 & Spring 2021) and the Richards Graduate Student Research Activity Award (Fall 2020).
Buerkle, Tera, "A QUALITATIVE EXAMINATION OF THE AGENCY OF WOMEN IN THEIR 30S AND 40S WHO USE DATING APPLICATIONS" (2021). Theses and Dissertations--Family Sciences. 89.
Communication Technology and New Media Commons, Family, Life Course, and Society Commons, Gender and Sexuality Commons, Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication Commons, Inequality and Stratification Commons, Interpersonal and Small Group Communication Commons, Place and Environment Commons, Psychology Commons, Social and Cultural Anthropology Commons, Social Psychology and Interaction Commons, Sociology of Culture Commons