Understanding perceptions of physical harm among young adults using a geospatial mobile dating app
Introduction: Emerging adults may have increased risk of physical and sexual violence during college due to dating relationships. This study explored physical risk perceptions among mobile dating app users to close gaps in knowledge regarding their perceived risks. Methods: Students (n=1,322) at an urban university completed an online survey regarding their use of mobile dating apps. McNemar’s test of proportions was conducted to compare participant response from vignettes of e-dating scenarios used to assess perceptions of physical harm (very likely=1- very unlikely=5). Results: There was a statistically significant difference between those who reported perceptions of physical harm due to shared contacts compared to those who reported perceptions of physical harm due to no shared contacts with a potential date (X2=44.77; p=0.000). Approximately 67% of those who reported perceptions of physical harm due to shared contacts reported the same perceptions due to no shared contacts. There was no statistically significant difference between those who perceived harm and engaged in sex during their first offline encounter (29%; p=. 058) and no difference between those who engaged in condomless sex the first time they had sex with another user (42%; p>.05). Conclusions: Mobile app users expressed safety concerns through responses to dating scenarios of offline meetings with potential dates. Although participants shared concerns for their well-being, some had encounters with other users that increased exposure to physical and sexual violence. Findings suggest that the mobile app’s social features may decrease perceptions of harm and change how perceived harm affects sexual risk behaviors.
Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Describe how mobile dating apps may increase sexual risk behaviors.
Explain how perceptions of physical harm relate to sexual activity when exploring relationships through mobile dating apps.
Keyword(s): Violence & Injury Prevention, STDs/STI
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.