Hookup App Use, Sexual Behavior, and Sexual Health Among Adolescent Men Who Have Sex With Men in the United States

Kathryn Macapagal*, David A. Moskowitz, Dennis H. Li, Andrés Carrión, Emily Bettin, Celia B. Fisher, Brian Mustanski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Purpose: Geosocial networking applications (e.g., “hookup apps”) are widely used among adult men who have sex with men (MSM). Little is known about adolescent MSM's (AMSM) use of these apps. Exploratory research is needed as AMSM's app use poses various ethical, legal, and sexual health concerns. This article examined AMSM's app use patterns and its associations with their sexual health and behavior. Methods: Two hundred sexually experienced AMSM in the United States (M age = 16.6, 49% racial/ethnic minority) completed online survey questions assessing their use of apps specific to MSM and not specific to MSM to meet partners for dating and sex, as well as their sexual behavior and HIV risk. Results: Overall, 52.5% of participants (n = 105) reported using MSM-specific apps to meet partners for sex. Of these, most participants reported having oral (75.7%, n = 78) and anal sex (62.1%, n = 64) with those partners. Of those who reported having anal sex, 78.1% (n = 50) had sex with those partners more than once, and only 25.0% (n = 16) always used condoms with those partners. Relative to those who used only non–MSM-specific apps, MSM-specific app users reported more sex partners and condomless anal sex partners, greater perceived risk of HIV, more engagement in sexual health services, and greater odds of HIV testing. Conclusions: Use of MSM-specific apps was not uncommon among this sample of AMSM. Patterns of risk behavior and HIV testing were similar to samples of adult MSM app users. Further research should investigate AMSM's app-related sexual and HIV/sexually transmitted infection prevention decision-making to guide sexual health education efforts for AMSM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)708-715
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Adolescent sexual behavior
  • Geosocial networking applications
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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