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Accumulating social capital and/or sexual networks? Relationships between motives and outcomes of using dating apps in a gay male sample

Mon, May 29, 8:00 to 9:15, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Floor: 2, Indigo 202A


Limited research has investigated the relationships between motives and outcomes of using mobile dating apps (i.e. Grindr, Jack’d, and Scruff) among gay men or men who have sex with men. This study builds upon uses and gratification theory and social capital scholarship to examine these relationships. Three motives—sex-seeking, romance-seeking, and identity-seeking—were considered and their associations with social capital and the size of sexual networks accumulated through using dating apps were assessed. Data from an online sample of 343 respondents were tested with structural equation modeling. The results showed that whether social capital or sexual networks was accumulated depend on the specific motives of the users. Sex-seeking had a positive relationship with the size of sexual networks while identity-seeking had a negative relationship with the size. Romance-seeking and identity-seeking had positive relationships with both bridging and bonding social capital. The study sheds light on the behavior of sexual minorities in the digital age, as well as provides insights to social workers who focuses on the social well-being of sexual minorities and public health practitioners who work on safe sex promotion.


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