Dating risks in 21st century: Perceptions of women 50+ dating online
Purpose: This study explores perceived differences between older women's experiences with online and traditional dating while assessing unique risks and vulnerabilities associated with each dating method.
Methods: Semi-structured telephone interviews (N=45) were conducted with women 50+ living within 50 miles of the 33602 area code who reported using the internet to meet new people. Women were recruited online through PlentyofFish.com and Craiglist.com and in-person at PlentyofFish hosted events. Interviews (~ 1 hr) were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and analyzed using ATLAS ti software.
Results: Content analysis of women's lived experiences suggest online dating provided an opportunity for women to screen potential dates and offered a sense of familiarity upon meeting in-person. However, online dating impeded women's ability to determine whether there was chemistry and/or attraction in a potential relationship. The ability of potential partners to conceal undesirable traits online was also concerning. Risk perceptions of both dating avenues emerged. Many described the risks as equal yet different, often making comparisons to the risks of meeting a man at a bar, the frequently used in-person paradigm for comparing risk.
Conclusions: Through personal experiences, women highlighted unique risks associated with online dating including decreased intuitional capacity and increased deception regarding physical characteristics, personality, and identity. These traits were unique to online dating and may place women at greater risk for exploitation.
Learning Areas:Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Discuss the perceived risks of dating online and dating in person from the perspective of older women who use the internet to meet new people. Compare older women’s perceptions of online dating risk with traditional in person dating risks. Discuss how study findings can inform strategies to reduce experiences of financial exploitation, verbal abuse, and sexual assault among older adults.
Keyword(s): Elderly, Technology
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida and a co-PI on this study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.