Keywords: People-Nearby Applications (PNAs), social compensation, loneliness, sexual minorities, local communities.
With the lack of «gay» social spaces, their community has gone through integration but also fragmentation processes; the need to relate safely still emerges among its members. This study aims to understand whether the relationships between loneliness and relational motives towards People- Nearby Applications (PNAs) uses are moderated by individuals’ sexual orientation. An online questionnaire including the Cyber Relationships Motives Scale and the Social and Emotional Loneliness Scale for Adults – short version was administered to 618 PNAs users. No significant differences emerged between heterosexual people and people from sexual minorities except for the relationship between Social Loneliness and PNAs use to search for love, which emerged as positive for the first group and negative for the latter. These results suggest that nowadays the loneliness characterizing how people live local communities has the same role for both heterosexual people and sexual minorities, but also that the latter could still perceive stigma and prejudices when it comes to the search of romantic partners; it seems like PNAs have the role of adaptive answer to the troubles in meeting new people offline for them.