Which motivations drive mobile daters to ghost? (RQ1)

Again, respondents were presented with the definition of ghosting and asked to indicate how often respondents ghosted other dating app users (M = 2.17, SD = 1.59) and how often they think other dating app users ghost (M = 3.51, SD = 0.88) on a scale ranging from 0 = Never to 5 = Very often.

Face-to-face contact

Respondents (n = 211) indicated whether they saw the person who ghosted them face-to-face with answer categories no (0) and yes (1; 52.1%).

Duration of contact

Respondents (n = 211) indicated the duration of the contact before the other person ghosted with answer categories (1) a couple hours or less (n = 9), (2) a day (n = 9), (3) a couple of days (n = 26), (4) a week (n = 32), (5) a couple of weeks (n = 77), (6) a month (n = 25), (7) a couple of months (n = 27), (8) half a year to a year (n = 4), (9) longer than a year (n = 2) (M = 4.77; SD = 1.62).

Intensity of the contact

The intensity of the contact was measured using a scale ranging from 1 = very sporadically to 7 = very intense (n = 211; M = 4.98; SD = 1.42).

Level of sexual intimacy

A categorical variable was used to measure level of sexual intimacy with responses ranging from none (n = 136), mild (i.e., kissing and intimate touching, n = 25) and serious (i.e., oral, vaginal or anal sex, n = 47). Three respondents did not want to share this information.

Expectancy violation

Two items from Afifi and Metts’s (1998) violated expectedness scale were used to measure whether the respondents (n = 208) expected the ghosting to occur (1 = completely expected; 7 = not at all expected; M = 5.50; SD = 1.67) and how surprised they were that the ghosting occurred (1 = not at all surprised; 7 = very surprised; M = 5.38; SD = 1.70). These items were highly correlated (Pearson’s r = .69; p < .001) and had good reliability (Cronbach's ? = .82; M = 5.44; SD = 1.55).


Respondents (n = 207) rated how painful their ghosting experience was (ranging from 0 = not at all painful to 10 = extremely painful; M = 6.03; SD = 2.67).


As described in the method section, for the first research question, we used thematic analysis to identify emergent themes related to reasons why mobile daters ghost. These were supplemented by a logistic regression analysis in which we looked at factors predicting having ghosted others on dating apps in order to answer the first two hypotheses. https://datingranking.net/feeld-review/ Similarly, for the second research question, we used thematic analysis to identify the different consequences of ghosting and the various coping mechanisms of ghostees. Again, these qualitative findings were followed by a quantitative regression analysis to test hypotheses related to factors contributing to experiencing ghosting as more painful.

To fully understand motivations to ghost, we first asked ghostees (n = 217) to elaborate on why they thought they were ghosted, which we then contrasted with ghosters’ (n = 142) reasons to ghost others. For ghostees, three main themes emerged that summarize why they thought they were ghosted as explained below.

Blame toward other (ghoster)

A fairly large proportion of the people who had been ghosted (n = 128; 59%) blamed the other person for ghosting them. They thought the ghoster was chatting with, dating, or in a relationship with someone else (n = 60); they described the ghoster as someone who had “issues” and thus could not commit to the dating relationship at this moment (n = 43). Several respondents also expressed their anger by describing the ghoster as someone who is childish, cowardly, lazy, rude, or disrespectful for ghosting them (n = 29). Finally, some participants indicated that the ghoster was no longer interested or too busy (n = 27).