Internet use and online social support among same sex attracted individuals of different ages

Laura Baams*, K. J. Jonas, Sonja Utz, Henny M. W. Bos, L. van der Vuurst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The current research addressed age differences in internet use among Same Sex Attracted (SSA) individuals. In general, online communities are found to be a source of social support, especially for minority group members. However, it is unclear whether younger and older SSA people differ in their use of these communities. The present research examined age differences in use of online communities, hypothesizing that young SSA people primarily use these for social interaction and support, whereas older SSA people use online communities to seek sexual contacts. Study 1 examined age differences in motives to start using these websites. Study 2 examined age differences in use of online profiles and online social support. Results of both studies confirmed our hypotheses. Younger compared to older SSA people are found to receive more online social support, whereas older SSA use the internet more for sexual purposes. Our findings provide first time evidence of the relation between sexual orientation, age and internet use. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1820-1827
Number of pages8
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Online communities
  • Online profiles
  • Social support
  • Age differences
  • Sexual minorities
  • Coming out

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