Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Previous research shows that college students consume large quantities of alcohol (Fillmore & Jude, 2011; Wechsler et al., 2002). One theory suggests that this may be a means of regulating negative emotions (Cooper, Frone, Russell, & Mudar, 1995), which may include unmet belongingness needs. However, implicit self-esteem has also been found to affect how people respond to relationship interactions (Longua Peterson & DeHart, 2013). Therefore, the current study examines the moderating influence of implicit self-esteem on the relation between belongingness needs and alcohol consumption among college students. A 2 (belongingness threat condition: threat or control) by continuous (implicit self-esteem) between-participants design was used. Participants (N = 195) were randomly assigned to either the threat or control condition. Analyses revealed that, among students in the friendship threat condition, implicit self-esteem was unrelated to the amount of time students spent drinking with friends or to feelings of acceptance the following day. However, among participants who spent more time drinking with friends, experiencing a friendship threat was related to increased alcohol consumption among students with low implicit self-esteem. Therefore, it seems that participants with low implicit self-esteem may not seek out interactions with friends in response to a friendship threat, but when they do spend more time drinking with friends, they may consume more alcohol.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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