Gay Dating Apps in China: Do They Alleviate or Exacerbate Loneliness? The Serial Mediation Effect of Perceived and Internalized Sexuality Stigma

Bolin Cao, Kumi Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Gay dating apps have become increasingly popular and been intensively used. However, studies that closely examine the effects of gay dating app usage on mental health outcomes are few. This study tackles an unsolved question on whether gay dating apps alleviate or exacerbate loneliness through perceptions of sexuality stigma. A cross-sectional online survey from 371 Chinese gay or bisexual men found that the intensity of gay dating app usage is positively associated with loneliness. The association between gay dating app usage intensity and loneliness is sequentially mediated by perceived sexuality stigma and internalized sexuality stigma. That is, increased intensity of gay dating app usage strengthens perceived sexuality stigma, which in turn reinforces internalized sexuality stigma, further exacerbating loneliness. This study echoes the “alone together” phenomena and uncovers the feasibility of using stigma perceptions as a mechanism to understand the mental health of gay dating app users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-363
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Volume70
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Keywords

  • China
  • Gay
  • bisexual
  • dating apps
  • loneliness
  • sexual minority
  • stigma

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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