Capitalization and Alcohol Use: A Moderated Mediation Model of Relationship Status, Capitalization, Drinking Motives and Alcohol Consumption

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Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology

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Capitalization, or the social sharing of positive events (Langston, 1994), has been linked to well-being and health. We proposed that capitalization is also related to motivated alcohol consumption. Capitalization, with its focus on enhancing positive events, is theoretically consistent with enhancement (i.e., drinking to prolong positive emotional experiences) and social drinking motives (i.e. drinking to positively engage with others). In Study 1, we conducted an online survey of 635 (75% female) mostly non-traditional-aged undergraduates (M age = 26, SD = 7.7), 63% with romantic partners. Results revealed a significant moderated mediation, whereby capitalization attempts were related to increased alcohol consumption through increased enhancement and social drinking motives. However, the mediation only held for unpartnered individuals. In Study 2, we extended our findings for unpartnered individuals by demonstrating that it was capitalization with a low responsive interaction partner that was associated with increased drinking as mediated by social and enhancement motives. In contrast, for partnered people, capitalization with a highly responsive interaction partner was related to increased drinking as a function of enhancement motives. Our results expand our understanding of how interpersonal processes link to alcohol consumption, and offer insight into positive experience-related drinking.



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