Digital dating abuse in the LGBTQIA+ community
The use of digital media as a medium for interpersonal communication has continued to grow throughout the course of the last several years. Technologies such as text messaging, instant messaging, social media use, and sexting have become commonplace within interpersonal relationships and have become a new method for perpetuating abuse within romantic relationships. A growing body of literature has examined these digital dating abuse (DDA) behaviors among adolescent and college populations, yet few studies have investigated the prevalence of perpetration, victimization, and impact of DDA within the relationships of the LGBTQIA+ community. Current literature has outlined attachment insecurity as a factor in a person’s propensity to experience DDA. However, a person’s level of outness, as it relates to their sexual orientation and/or gender orientation has not been explored in the current literary landscape. The current study aimed to fill gaps in the literature by examining the prevalence of DDA behaviors among the LGBTQIA+ community and the intersection of a person’s level of outness and attachment insecurity on their experience of DDA. Participants completed measures assessing their individual experiences of DDA victimization, attachment styles, and levels of outness of sexual orientation and gender identity. Results revealed that those in the LGBTQIA+ community who tended toward insecure attachment (i.e., anxious attachment and avoidant attachment) reported higher levels of DDA victimization within their romantic relationships. Additionally, results indicated that levels of gender and sexual orientation outness were not related to increased risk of DDA victimization. Limitations and implications for future research and clinical practice are discussed.