PhD Public Health and Health Systems, 2016-2020
My most recent work explores the means by which Grindr – the most popular geosocial networking application (or dating app) among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men – influences users’ body image and body satisfaction. Through thematic analysis of in-depth interview data, our team identified three primary social-psychological mechanisms at play: weight stigma, sexual objectification, and social comparison. In each case, user attitudes and behaviours interact with app-specific features to affect bodily perceptions in a way that differs in form or intensity from social influence via offline exchanges. Participants also identified several protective factors and coping strategies which suggest the relationship between Grindr and body image is dependent on a number of complex interactions between technology, user, and environment.
My time in the School of Public Health and Health Systems (SPHHS)
Few departments rival SPHHS in terms of disciplinary breadth. Where else will you find a symbolic interactionist investigating the socially-performed character of pregnancy while a neurobiologist prepares brain cell cultures just next door? As someone who employs predominantly qualitative, constructivist methods to study issues affecting historically marginalized and/or oppressed populations, I’m thankful to have the collegial and administrative support here to carry out my work which in other academic environments might be unduly treated as niche, boutique, or unexacting.