The Demographic and Psychological Moderators to the Associations Between Geosocial Networking Apps (GSNA) Use and Risky Sexual Behaviors Among US Young Adults

Minhao Dai, Kennesaw State University


Introduction: Previous literature has established positive associations between geosocial networking apps (GSNA) use and risky sexual behaviors. The current study seeks to confirm such associations and further explore the potential demographic and psychological moderators of such relationships. Methods: The current study conducted a cross-sectional survey with young adults (n = 680) in the USA. We tested the main and interaction effects of age, sex, relationship status, Greek affiliation, sociosexuality, sexual compulsivity, and sexual sensation seeking, while controlling for race, sexual orientation, and college student status. Results: The results showed that GSNA use was significantly associated with having three or more sexual partners, having more hookups, and having condomless sex within the last 6 months. Furthermore, moderated regression models showed that age, being male, being single, being in a Greek organization, sociosexuality, sexual compulsivity, and sexual sensation seeking moderated the relationships between GSNA use and different risky sexual behavioral outcomes. The GSNA use was not associated with having an STI in the last year, potentially due to under-testing and under-reporting of STI. Conclusions: GSNA use has magnifying effects on risky sexual behaviors among younger single males. The relationships between GSNA and risky sexual behaviors might be more prominent among certain individuals, such as those who are sociosexually unrestricted, sexually compulsive, and sexual sensation seekers. Policy Implications: Some risk-reduction messages promoting condom use and regular STI testing could be strategically placed on GSNA to target those susceptible GSNA users, an effective strategy for GSNA primarily used among men who have sex with men.