Reciprocity between humor styles and psychosocial adjustment in children

Fox, Claire; Hunter, Simon and Jones, Sian. 2016. Reciprocity between humor styles and psychosocial adjustment in children. Europe’s Journal of Psychology, Special Humor Issue, 12(3), pp. 377-389. ISSN 1841-0413 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This study assessed the concurrent and prospective associations between psychosocial adjustment and four humor styles, two of which are adaptive (affiliative, self-enhancing) and two maladaptive (aggressive, self-defeating). Participants were 1,234 adolescents (52% female) aged 11-13 years, drawn from six secondary schools in England. Self-reports of psychosocial adjustment (loneliness, depressive symptomatology, and self-esteem) and humor styles were collected at two time points (fall and summer). In cross-lagged panel analyses, self-defeating humor was associated with an increase in both depressive symptoms and loneliness, and with a decrease in self-esteem. In addition, depressive symptoms predicted an increase in the use of self-defeating humor over time, indicating that these may represent a problematic spiral of thoughts and behaviors. Self-esteem was associated with an increase in the use of affiliative humor over the school year but not vice-versa. These results inform our understanding of the ways in which humor is associated with psychosocial adjustment in adolescence.

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This research was supported by a grant from the Economic and Social Research Council (REF: RES-062-23-2647).


humor, psychosocial adjustment, depression, loneliness, self-esteem, adolescence

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19 August 2016Published
19 December 2015Accepted

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Date Deposited:

27 Jan 2016 11:22

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:43

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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