Why can't we be friends? Relating university students' mobile dating app use intentions to sexual risk behaviors
Introduction: Mobile dating apps introduce versatile dating experiences for app users, which present opportunities to engage in sexual risk behaviors. Little is known about the intentions of young adults when using dating apps, and how app use translates to sexual risk behaviors. Methods: An online survey regarding use of mobile dating apps was distributed to students 18 to 24 years at an urban university. Intentions of using a popular mobile dating app were categorized as: 1) friend only 2) relationship only 3) sex only and 4) friend/relationship. A logistic regression was conducted to determine whether intentions of app use predicted having sex with someone who participants met on an app. Results: Participants reported using apps for: friend-seeking n=43; committed partners/relationship n=26; sex only n=21; and seeking a friend and a relationship n=115. The model successfully predicted that intentions of use are predictive of participants having sex at the first in-person meeting (X2=.000; p=1.0). The model demonstrated that participants who indicated looking for friends only (OR=.351, CI=.157, 0.781) or looking for both friends and a committed relationship (OR=.095; CI=.017, .535) had decreased odds of sex at the first in-person meeting. Conclusions: Among respondents, those who used the app to exclusively find sex partners or relationships had greater odds of engaging in sexual activity more quickly after in-person contact occurred than those looking for friends and/or relationships. Further investigation of mobile dating app experiences is needed to determine additional factors involved in sexual activity among users.
Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Explain how emerging adults are using mobile dating apps to engage in sexual risk behaviors.
Keyword(s): College Students, Technology
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a first year doctoral student and graduate research assistant at the University of South Florida. My research interests include sexual health disparities and sexual health communication particularly among low-income populations. I have been an abstract reviewer, previous presenter, and active member of APHA for several years. Current work involves implementing a peer health education program on sexual health needs, HIV-related interventions, and research on sexual consent.
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.