The influence of Grindr, a geosocial networking application, on body image in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men: An exploratory study
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Recent evidence indicates use of geosocial networking apps is associated with body image-related issues among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. The current study aims to elaborate upon these findings by investigating how Grindr, the most widely-used dating app among this population, impacts users' body image and body satisfaction. Using an exploratory, qualitative study design, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 current and previous Grindr users and analyzed thematically. Our findings suggest Grindr affects users' body image through three primary mechanisms: weight stigma, sexual objectification, and social comparison. In each case, normative user attitudes and behaviours interact with the app's constitutional elements to affect bodily perceptions in a way that differs in form or intensity from social influence via offline exchanges. These interactions are often enabled by features shared with traditional social networking sites, like asynchronous, text-based communication and technology-assisted appearance augmentation, but certain features unique to Grindr may also play an important role. Moreover, participants identified several protective factors and coping strategies which suggest the relationship between Grindr and body image is dependent on a number of complex interactions between technology, user, and environment. Limitations and suggestions for future research are also discussed.
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