Swiping for Sex: Identifying Factors that Predict US-based College Students’ Likelihood of Using Location-based Mobile Dating Applications for Hook-ups

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Author: Aditi Paul

To cite this article: Paul, A. (2020). “Swiping for Sex: Identifying Factors that Predict US-based College Students’ Likelihood of Using Location-based Geosocial Networking Smartphone Applications for Hook-ups”, Youth Voice Journal, ISSN (online): 2969.

Categories: Paper, Youth Voice Journal



Purpose: Examine the effect of seven demographic factors (gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, seniority in school, place of residence, and relationship status) and three mobile dating app engagement factors (motives, frequency of use, satisfaction of use) on US-based college students’ likelihood of using mobile dating applications (MDAs) to find sexual partners for hooking up.

Design: Surveyed 272 students enrolled in introductory communication courses at a private university in an urban college campus in exchange for extra credit.

Findings: The following students were most likely to use MDAs for hookups: male, non-religious, students who used MDAs for fun and identify experimentation, used a greater number of MDAs, and were less satisfied with MDA use. A significant interaction of sexual orientation and gender was also found in that, non-heterosexual females were more likely to hookup using MDAs compared to heterosexual females, but non-heterosexual males were less likely to hookup compared to heterosexual males.

Research implications and limitations: Findings partially contradict previous research studies that have examined non-US based college students’ likelihood of hooking up using MDAs. This indicates the unique nature of US based college students, a population that is historically known to engage in hookups, even before the advent of MDAs. This exploratory study can be expanded by recruiting a student sample representative of the student population, and by including behavioral and psychological correlates along with the socio-demographic factors.

Value: This study is one of the first studies within the body of research on US-based college students use of MDAs that has identified factors that distinguish college students who are more likely to hook up using MDAs compared to those who do not.

Keywords: casual sex, college students, hook-ups, Tinder

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