Adolescent online romantic relationship initiation: Differences by sexual and gender identification

Josephine D. Korchmaros, Michele L. Ybarra, Kimberly J. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Data from the national Teen Health and Technology Study of adolescents 13-18 years old (N=5091) were used to examine online formation of romantic relationships. Results show that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) and non-LGBTQ adolescents similarly were most likely to have met their most recent boy/girlfriend in the past 12 months at school. However, they differed on many characteristics of romantic relationship initiation, including the extent to which they initiated romantic relationships online. LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ adolescents also differed on level of offline access to potential partners, offline popularity, and numerous other factors possibly related to online relationship initiation (e.g., Internet use and demographic factors). Even after adjusting for differences in these factors, LGBTQ adolescents were more likely than non-LGBTQ adolescents to find boy/girlfriends online in the past 12 months. The results support the rich-get-richer hypothesis as well as the social compensation hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-64
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Adolescence
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Internet use
  • Romantic relationship initiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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