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College students to cope with stress often use alcohol. Social support has been shown to buffer the negative outcomes of stress, but specific forms of support such as tangible and belonging support have been understudied in the buffering hypothesis. Therefore, I examined how belonging and tangible social support affect alcohol use depending on one’s stress level. Participants (N=212, Mage= 21.51, SD=2.96) were emailed a survey and responded to demographic, stress, social support, and alcohol consumption questions. The moderation effect was tested using multiple regression. There was a significant interaction between tangible support and perceived stress on hours spent drinking and number of drinks consumed. When tangible support was high, perceived stress had no effect on the hours spent drinking or number of drinks consumed, but for those with low tangible support, hours spent consuming of alcohol and number of drinks consumed increased as stress increased. There was a significant interaction between belonging support and perceived stress on hours spent drinking. The follow-up analysis did not; however indicate a significant change for each group depending on stress level. In all analyses, those with higher support had greater alcohol use. Hypotheses were partially supported, the buffering hypothesis holds for specific forms of social support in college students. Individuals with low social support could be targeted for better stress management practices. Those higher in belonging and tangible support may have spent more hours drinking because they have more friends to socialize with. Implications will be discussed.

Content Notes

Research Report, Poster, Final Report Form

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Amanda Brouwer



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