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Unformatted text preview: What Do You Do When Things Go Right? The Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Benefits of Sharing Positive Events Shelly L. Gable University of California, Los Angeles Harry T. Reis University of Rochester Emily A. Impett University of California, Los Angeles Evan R. Asher University of Rochester Four studies examined the intrapersonal and interpersonal consequences of seeking out others when good things happen (i.e., capitalization). Two studies showed that communicating personal positive events with others was associated with increased daily positive affect and well-being, above and beyond the impact of the positive event itself and other daily events. Moreover, when others were perceived to respond actively and constructively (and not passively or destructively) to capitalization attempts, the benefits were further enhanced. Two studies found that close relationships in which one’s partner typically responds to capitalization attempts enthusiastically were associated with higher relationship well-being (e.g., intimacy, daily marital satisfaction). The results are discussed in terms of the theoretical and empirical importance of understanding how people “cope” with positive events, cultivate positive emotions, and enhance social bonds. Good, the more communicated, more abundant grows. —John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book V The puzzle of well-being has many pieces. One piece that has been the focus of much research is how people maintain or restore their well-being in the face of negative events or stressors. Re- search has often asked, “What can people do when things go wrong?” and useful answers to this question have come from studies on appraisals (e.g., Folkman, Lazarus, Dunkel-Schetter, Delongis, & Gruen, 1986; Lazarus, 1991), coping (e.g., Bolger, 1990; Carver & Scheier, 1994), and rumination (e.g., Nolen- Hoeksema, 1996, 1998). These and other studies have demon- strated that people routinely turn to others for support in times of stress, be it in the face of everyday stressors (e.g., Harlow & Cantor, 1995) or major life events (e.g., Bolger & Eckenrode, 1991), and that the availability of social support has clear benefits for the support-seeker’s health and well-being (e.g., Sarason, Sara- son, & Gurung, 1997; Uchino, Cacioppo, & Kiecolt-Glaser, 1996). Furthermore, people commonly cite the possibility of receiving social support, if and when needed, as one of the major benefits of close relationships (e.g., Cunningham & Barbee, 2000). Without doubt, the processes involved in utilizing social relations to cope with negative events are central to understanding intrapersonal and interpersonal well-being. Nevertheless, this article suggests that another, complementary piece of the puzzle has been largely overlooked: the intrapersonal and interpersonal consequences of seeking out others when good things happen....
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