Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32451
The Association between Affective States and Sexual/Health-Related Status among Men Who Have Sex with Men in China: An Exploration Study Using Social Media Data

Authors: Zhi-Wei Zheng, Zhong-Qi Liu, Jia-Ling Qiu, Shan-Qing Guo, Zhong-Wei Jia, Chun Hao


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to understand and examine the association between diurnal mood variation and sexual/health-related status among men who have sex with men (MSM) using data from MSM Chinese Twitter messages. The study consists of 843,745 postings of 377,610 MSM users located in Guangdong that were culled from the MSM Chinese Twitter App. Positive affect, negative affect, sexual related behaviors, and health-related status were measured using the Simplified Chinese Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count. Emotions, including joy, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust were measured using the Weibo Basic Mood Lexicon. A positive sentiment score and a positive emotions score were also calculated. Linear regression models based on a permutation test were used to assess associations between affective states and sexual/health-related status. In the results, 5,871 active MSM users and their 477,374 postings were finally selected. MSM expressed positive affect and joy at 8 a.m. and expressed negative affect and negative emotions between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. In addition, 25.1% of negative postings were directly related to health and 13.4% reported seeking social support during that sensitive period. MSM who were senior, educated, overweight or obese, self-identified as performing a versatile sex role, and with less followers, more followers, and less chat groups mainly expressed more negative affect and negative emotions. MSM who talked more about sexual-related behaviors had a higher positive sentiment score (β=0.29, p < 0.001) and a higher positive emotions score (β = 0.16, p < 0.001). MSM who reported more on their health status had a lower positive sentiment score (β = -0.83, p < 0.001) and a lower positive emotions score (β = -0.37, p < 0.001). The study concluded that psychological intervention based on an app for MSM should be conducted, as it may improve mental health.

Keywords: Affect, men who have sex with men, sexual-related behaviors, health-related status, social media.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 593


[1] Desmet PMA: Designing emotions.; 2002.
[2] Mehdi Khosrow-Pour D: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Fourth Edition. USA: Information Science Reference; 2018.
[3] Volkova S, Bachrach Y: On Predicting Sociodemographic Traits and Emotions from Communications in Social Networks and Their Implications to Online Self-Disclosure. Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw 2015, 18(12):726–736.
[4] Golder SA, Macy MW: Diurnal and seasonal mood vary with work, sleep, and daylength across diverse cultures. Science 2011, 333(6051):1878–1881.
[5] Wang JY, Gan SQ, Zhao N, et al: Chinese mood variation analysis based on Sina Weibo. Journal of University of Chinese Academy of Sciences 2016(06):815–824.
[6] Anas M, Akhouri D: Posıtıve And Negatıve Affect In Depressed And Normal Adults. 2013(1):61–68.
[7] Van Cappellen P, Rice EL, Catalino LI, Fredrickson BL: Positive affective processes underlie positive health behaviour change. Psychol Health 2018, 33(1):77–97.
[8] King M, Semlyen J, Tai SS, Killaspy H, Osborn D, Popelyuk D, Nazareth I: A systematic review of mental disorder, suicide, and deliberate self harm in lesbian, gay and bisexual people. BMC Psychiatry 2008, 8:70.
[9] Dyer TP, Regan R, Wilton L, Harawa NT, Ou SS, Wang L, Shoptaw S: Differences in substance use, psychosocial characteristics and HIV-related sexual risk behavior between Black men who have sex with men only (BMSMO) and Black men who have sex with men and women (BMSMW) in six US cities. J Urban Health 2013, 90(6):1181–1193.
[10] Ibragimov U, Harnisch JA, Nehl EJ, He N, Zheng T, Ding Y, Wong FY: Estimating self-reported sex practices, drug use, depression, and intimate partner violence among MSM in China: a comparison of three recruitment methods. AIDS Care 2017, 29(1):125–131.
[11] Hong H, Xu J, McGoogan J, Dong H, Xu G, Wu Z: Relationship between the use of gay mobile phone applications and HIV infection among men who have sex with men in Ningbo, China: a cross-sectional study. INT J STD & AIDS 2018, 29(5):491–497.
[12] Blued: Big data for Blued.; 2016.
[13] Han J, Tian X, Yu G, He F: Disclosure Pattern of Self-Labeled People Living with HIV/AIDS on Chinese Social Networking Site: An Exploratory Study. Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw 2016, 19(8):516–523.
[14] Liu P, Tov W, Kosinski M, Stillwell DJ, Qiu L: Do Facebook Status Updates Reflect Subjective Well-Being? Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw 2015, 18(7):373–379.
[15] Settanni M, Marengo D: Sharing feelings online: studying emotional well-being via automated text analysis of Facebook posts. Front Psychol 2015, 6:1045.
[16] Cheng Q, Li TM, Kwok CL, Zhu T, Yip PS: Assessing Suicide Risk and Emotional Distress in Chinese Social Media: A Text Mining and Machine Learning Study. J Med Internet Res 2017, 19(7): e243.
[17] Yeo T, Chu TH: Sharing "Sex Secrets" on Facebook: A Content Analysis of Youth Peer Communication and Advice Exchange on Social Media about Sexual Health and Intimate Relations. J Health Commun 2017, 22(9):753–762.
[18] Young SD, Rivers C, Lewis B: Methods of using real-time social media technologies for detection and remote monitoring of HIV outcomes. PREV MED 2014, 63:112–115.
[19] Wood IB, Varela PL, Bollen J, Rocha LM, Goncalves-Sa J: Human Sexual Cycles are Driven by Culture and Match Collective Moods. Sci Rep 2017, 7(1):17973.
[20] Janssen E, Macapagal KR, Mustanski B: Individual differences in the effects of mood on sexuality: the revised Mood and Sexuality Questionnaire (MSQ-R). J Sex Res 2013, 50(7):676–687.
[21] Von Sadovszky V, Vahey DC, McKinney K, Keller ML: Emotions involved in college students' sexual encounters. West J Nurs Res 2006, 28(7):864-879, 880–885.
[22] Hamilton LD, Meston CM: The role of salivary cortisol and DHEA-S in response to sexual, humorous, and anxiety-inducing stimuli. Horm Behav 2011, 59(5):765–771.
[23] Babowitch JD, Mitzel LD, Vanable PA, Sweeney SM: Depressive Symptoms and Condomless Sex Among Men Who Have Sex with Men Living with HIV: A Curvilinear Association. Arch Sex Behav 2017.
[24] Derefinko KJ, Peters JR, Eisenlohr-Moul TA, Walsh EC, Adams ZW, Lynam DR: Relations between trait impulsivity, behavioral impulsivity, physiological arousal, and risky sexual behavior among young men. Arch Sex Behav 2014, 43(6):1149–1158.
[25] Tian X, He F, Batterham P, Wang Z, Yu G: An Analysis of Anxiety-Related Postings on Sina Weibo. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2017, 14(7).
[26] Jung H, Park HA, Song TM: Ontology-Based Approach to Social Data Sentiment Analysis: Detection of Adolescent Depression Signals. J Med Internet Res 2017, 19(7): e259.
[27] Cheng Q, Li TM, Kwok CL, Zhu T, Yip PS: Assessing Suicide Risk and Emotional Distress in Chinese Social Media: A Text Mining and Machine Learning Study. J Med Ineternet Res 2017, 19(7):e243.
[28] Dong YH, Chen H, Qian WN, Zhou AY: Micro-blog social moods and Chinese stock market: The influence of emotional valence and arousal on Shanghai Composite Index volume. International Journal of Embedded Systems 2015, 7(2):148.
[29] Zhao N, Jiao D, Bai S, Zhu T: Evaluating the Validity of Simplified Chinese Version of LIWC in Detecting Psychological Expressions in Short Texts on Social Network Services. PLOS One 2016, 11(6):e157947.
[30] Chin-Lan Huang, Chung CK, Hui N, et al.: The Development of the Chinese Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count Dictionary. Chinese Journal of Psychology. 2012, 54(2):185–201.
[31] Xinyong Zhang: LIWC: A Text Analysis Tools Based on Word Count. Journal of Southwest University for Nationalities (Humanities and Social Science).2015(4):101-104.
[32] Gao R, Hao B, Li H, Gao Y, Zhu T: Developing Simplified Chinese Psychological Linguistic Analysis Dictionary for Microblog. 2013.
[33] Ekman P: An argument for basic emotions. Cognition & Emotion 1992, 6(3-4):169–200.
[34] Ferrara E, Yang Z: Measuring Emotional Contagion in Social Media. PLOS One 2015, 10(11):e142390.
[35] Ryan GW, Bernard HR: Techniques to Identify Themes. Field Methods 2003, 15(1):85–109.
[36] Tang W, Mahapatra T, Tucker JD, Zhao J, Detels R: Prejudice, Stigma and Social Discrimination: Perceived Barriers in HIV Prevention and Control among Men Who Have Sex with Men in China. Journal of Clinical Case Reports 2014, 4(11).
[37] Shrier LA, Shih MC, Beardslee WR: Affect and sexual behavior in adolescents: a review of the literature and comparison of momentary sampling with diary and retrospective self-report methods of measurement. Pediatrics 2005, 115(5):e573-e581.
[38] Bancroft J, Janssen E, Strong D, Vukadinovic Z: The relation between mood and sexuality in gay men. Arch Sex Behav 2003, 32(3):231–242.
[39] Millar BM, Starks TJ, Grov C, Parsons JT: Sexual Risk-Taking in HIV-Negative Gay and Bisexual Men Increases with Depression: Results from a U.S. National Study. AIDS Behav 2017, 21(6):1665–1675.
[40] Bousman CA, Cherner M, Ake C, Letendre S, Atkinson JH, Patterson TL, Grant I, Everall IP: Negative mood and sexual behavior among non-monogamous men who have sex with men in the context of methamphetamine and HIV. J Affect Disord 2009, 119(1-3):84–91.
[41] Walsh JL, Senn TE, Carey MP: Longitudinal associations between health behaviors and mental health in low-income adults. Transl Behav Med 2013, 3(1):104–113.
[42] Hu J, Gruber KJ: Positive and negative affect and health functioning indicators among older adults with chronic illnesses. Issues Ment Health Nurs 2008, 29(8):895–911.