Date of Award

May 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Mike Allen

Committee Members

Nancy Burrell, Erin Ruppel, Erin Parcell


Computer Mediated Communication, Dime Dating, Investment Model, Online Dating, Romantic Relationships, Social Exchange Theory


The emergence of dime dating, while relatively new, has received a good deal of attention from the popular press. With the new process of dime dating, more individuals seeking and initiating romantic relationships are becoming curious of the cost-benefits of dime dating. Despite the increased popularity of dime dating, little is known concerning the processes by which individuals communicate rewards and costs, and how the principles of social exchange apply as individuals maximize mutual relationship rewards. This study provides a starting point for understanding the dime dating process.

A sample of 212 participants was divided into not-for-profit dating participants (196) and for-profit dating participants (16). The participants responded to sets of structured survey questions that focused on the rewards, costs, satisfaction, commitment, alternatives, investment, and communication within online dating. The data from the surveys were analyzed for each hypothesis and research question using for-profit dating participants, not-for-profit dating participants, and the combined total of all participants. Hypothesis 1-5 were tested through the correlation between satisfaction and (a) costs/rewards difference, (b) rewards/alternatives difference, (c) costs/alternatives difference, (d) investments/costs difference, and (e) investments/alternatives difference. For research question 1, a multiple regression (using the predictors of alternatives, investments, and satisfaction) analyzed the investment model after removing the influence of demographics [biological sex, income, education level, relational status, sexual identity]. Lastly, for research question 2, a hierarchical multiple regression evaluated the predictors of costs, rewards, alternatives, investments, commitment and communication to analyze the best estimators of relational satisfaction.

Results indicated that the processes by which individuals communicate rewards and costs in for-profit and not-for-profit relationships are governed by social exchange theoretical principals and the investment model, which depicts a clear correlation among cost-benefit scale factors including communication, commitment, investment, rewards, satisfaction, costs, and alternatives. The correlations contribute to the understanding of the cost-benefit prospects of dime dating, relative to traditional online dating.

Included in

Communication Commons