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Understanding Motivations for Dating App Use Among Gay and Bisexual Men: Validation, Latent Profile Analysis, and Differences in Health Outcomes

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Abstract

While there has been a proliferation in gay dating app (GDA) use in China, research into their potential effects on health outcomes, particularly mental health outcomes, among gay and bisexual men is lacking. The motivations for GDA use are diverse, and understanding users’ motivation profiles may provide a necessary starting point for exploring the heterogeneous effects of GDA use on health outcomes. A cross-sectional survey of the motivations for GDA use and other health outcome variables (i.e., condom use frequency, self-stigma, and subjective emptiness) was conducted among 366 Chinese gay and bisexual men. The results of exploration structure equation modeling indicate that the GDA Use Motivation Scale, with a four-factor first-order model, had strong psychometric properties. Then, latent profile analysis (LPA) based on the mean scores of four aspects of motivation was performed. The results of the LPA revealed the existence of four profiles: “Weak motivations” (30.9%), “Differentiated motivations” (17.8%), “Moderate motivations” (30.3%), and “Strong motivations” (21.0%). Differences in health outcomes among the motivation profiles were found by using the Bolck–Croon–Hagenaars approach. Overall, most participants (60.1%) tended to use condoms consistently, regardless of how strong their GDA use motivation was; however, stronger GDA use motivations were associated with higher levels of self-stigma and subjective emptiness. We call for more research to focus on the real needs behind and motivations for GDA use so that all such app users’ voices can be heard, as well as to raise awareness about the potential health risks associated with GDA use among Chinese gay and bisexual men.

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Acknowledgements

We thank our participants for their willingness to fill out the questionnaires.

Funding

Guangdong Higher Education Teaching Reform and Construction Project: Research on a New Teaching Model Based on the Internet Environment - A case Study of the Course “Sexual Health Education for College Students” (506); Chongqing Language and Writing Research Funds: Research on Doctor’s Language Strategies and Their Mechanisms of Action to Promote Patient Satisfaction and Compliance (yyk23208).

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Contributions

AH: Conceptualization, methodology, writing—original draft, investigation, writing—review and editing, project administration. HB: Conceptualization, methodology, writing—review and editing, investigation, supervision. WM: Conceptualization, methodology, supervision, writing—review and editing. DF: Writing—review and editing. CC: Writing—review and editing. All authors have contributed to and have approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Wenlong Mu.

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Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This study was performed in line with the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki. Approval was granted by the Ethics Committee of Nanjing University.

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All participants provided digital informed consent.

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He, A., Bu, H., Mu, W. et al. Understanding Motivations for Dating App Use Among Gay and Bisexual Men: Validation, Latent Profile Analysis, and Differences in Health Outcomes. Arch Sex Behav 53, 555–568 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-023-02746-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-023-02746-9

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