BITlab: Behavior Information Technology

BITlab
404 Wilson Rd. Room 249
Communication Arts & Sciences
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824

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Technology and sexuality: Exploring how LGBTQ+ individuals manage uncertainty in online dating

by: Mitchell, K. M. & Knittel, M.

Abstract

Although online dating technologies offer people new opportunities to make meaningful romantic connections, the intimate, vulnerable, and personal nature of these technologies intensify concerns about privacy, self-disclosure, and uncertainty management. Emerging evidence suggests that some LGBTQ+ users may be especially impacted by issues like personal privacy and misrepresentation concerns based on challenges related to their identity, such as fear of harm and stigma from identity disclosure. How these identity concerns may manifest in uncertainty reduction strategies in online dating contexts has not yet been examined. To understand this relationship, we replicated and extended Gibbs et al.’s 2011 examination of self-disclosure concerns and subsequent uncertainty reduction strategies when online dating with a focus on LGBTQ+ users. Participants were surveyed on the amount of personal information they disclosed, the uncertainty reduction strategies they used, and concerns about disclosure related to their LGBTQ+ identity. We found that identity concerns predicted self-disclosure and uncertainty reduction outcomes. We conclude with a discussion of this contribution to uncertainty reduction theory and potential future research directions.

Reference

Mitchell, K. M. & Knittel, M.. “Technology and sexuality: Exploring how LGBTQ+ individuals manage uncertainty in online dating.”International Communication Association.2021.

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