Measurement of Event-Specific Capitalization in Couples




Carson, Chelsea

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Capitalization is a component of intimacy that consists of how a partner responds when the other discloses good news. Previous research has identified four capitalization patterns: active-constructive, passive-constructive, passive-destructive, and active-destructive. Since capitalization theoretically takes place in the moment, it would be beneficial to have a scale to measure it in an event-specific manner. However, current self-report measures for capitalization are global, creating a need for an event-specific self-report survey. I examined the validity of a new event-specific survey by testing the following hypotheses. Event-specific scales measuring the four response patterns should show convergent correlations with global scales measuring the same response pattern, and divergent correlations with global scales measuring the other patterns. The event-specific scales should be associated with a measure of perceived partner responsiveness, with the active-constructive scale having the strongest positive correlation, and passive-destructive having the strongest negative correlation. Event-specific scales should also correlate with coping, with the active-constructive scale correlating with positive but not negative coping interactions, and passive-destructive correlating with negative but not positive coping interactions. Finally, the event-specific scale should explain unique variance in the criterion variables above that explained by the global scale and relationship satisfaction. In this study, 223 married or cohabitating participants completed an online survey comprised of global and event-specific capitalization, responsiveness, relationship satisfaction, positive coping, negative coping, affect, and well-being measures. The results provided support for all the hypotheses. Therefore, it seems that the event-specific scales capture something important and distinct from each other and their global counterparts.