Dating apps are in growing popularity, with 48% of dating app users in the United States being adults under 30 (Pew Research Center, 2020, Figure 5). While dating apps can provide a faster and easier way to meet or message a potential partner, they are also a relatively new platform to experience sexual violence. This thesis aims to explore the frequency of sexual violence experienced via dating apps as well as the specific effects this subtype of sexual violence has on the mental health of college students. Technology facilitated sexual violence (TFSV) includes unwanted sexual advances, sexual harassment, gender/sexuality-based abuse, sexual coercion, and rape that a person may experience due to technology that connected the victim to the perpetrator (Henry & Powell, 2018). While there is limited research on the physical and mental health effects of TFSV, past research includes all forms of technology. By focusing on dating apps, a widely used online platform, this research hopes to fill a gap in the research. The study conducted was of 230 college students at the University of Central Florida. Of all study participants, 144 reported current or past use of dating apps, and 88.8% of users reported at least one instance of sexual violence via dating apps. Overall, greater frequency of TFSV on dating apps was associated with more symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, greater loneliness, less perceived self-control, and lower self-esteem.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Echevarria, Samantha G., "Dating App Facilitated Sexual Violence: The Prevalence and Mental Health Effects" (2021). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 926.