Gender differences in the associations of reappraisal and humor styles

  • 1 University of California, Riverside, USA
  • 2 Monterey Peninsula College, California, US
  • 3 Stanford University, California, US
Angela A. Sillars
  • University of California, Riverside, CA, USA
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  • Angela A. Sillars is a doctoral candidate in Psychology at the University of California, Riverside. She is a researcher and developer with Resilience through Relationships in partnership with Hand in Hand (a nonprofit organization). Her research focuses on emotions, humor and play, and equity in early childhood educational communities.
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, Christina Nicolaides
  • University of California, Riverside, CA, USA
  • Monterey Peninsula College, California, US
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  • Christina Nicolaides is a developmental researcher and is an instructor of psychology at Monterey Peninsula College. She earned her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, Riverside in 2018. Her main interests are contexts of socioemotional and cognitive development, with a focus on emotion regulation and prosocial behavior in early and middle childhood.
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, Alexander Karan
  • University of California, Riverside, CA, USA
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  • Alexander Karan is a researcher in health psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He earned his Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of California, Riverside in 2019. His main research interests include health behavior interventions based on tailored communication and message framing strategies as well as stress and coping within marginalized communities.
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, Robert Wright
  • University of California, Riverside, CA, USA
  • Stanford University, California, US
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  • Robert Wright is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Surgery at Stanford University. He earned his Ph.D. in Psychology from University of California, Riverside in 2019. His main research interests are in the areas of pediatric surgery and pain.
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, Megan L. Robbins
  • University of California, Riverside, CA, USA
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  • Megan L. Robbins is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside. She is a social-personality psychologist with interests in health psychology who uses naturalistic observation methods to study social interactions, coping, and well-being.
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and Elizabeth L. DavisORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2599-4390
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  • University of California, Riverside, CA, USA
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  • Elizabeth L. Davis is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside. Her research focuses on how children and adults manage stress and negative emotions. Email: elizabeth.davis@ucr.edu.
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Abstract

Reappraisal is an effective emotion regulation strategy that draws on cognitive processes–like changing one’s thoughts to change one’s feelings–that are similar to those implicated in humor. Yet, very little is known about the links between the dispositional tendency to use reappraisal and individuals’ humor styles (e. g. aggressive, affiliative, self-deprecating, self-enhancing). Importantly, there are gender differences both in emotion regulatory processes and in the use of humor styles. We examined gender differences in reported use of humor styles, the associations between reappraisal and humor styles, and whether gender moderated those associations. Participants (N=250) were recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk and self-reported their dispositional use of reappraisal and four humor styles. Men reported greater use of aggressive humor compared to women. Dispositional use of reappraisal was positively associated with self-enhancing humor. In addition, reappraisal use was positively related to greater use of affiliative humor, and this association was stronger for men than women. For men, greater use of reappraisal was associated with greater use of self-defeating humor, but reappraisal was negatively associated with self-defeating humor for women. Findings extend insight from prior work and suggest that both reappraisal and specific ways of using humor draw on aspects of self-regulatory competence rooted in cognitive change abilities, and the patterns of association differ in interesting ways for men and women.

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