Sex differences in humor experiences in relationship to compassion for oneself and for others

Abygail Kosiara 1 , Deirdre Katz 1  and Sarina Saturn 1
  • 1 Psychological Sciences, University of Portland Department of Sociology and Social Work, 5000 N Willamette Blvd, Portland, USA
Abygail Kosiara
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  • Psychological Sciences, University of Portland Department of Sociology and Social Work, 5000 N Willamette Blvd, Portland, OR, 97203-5743, USA
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  • Abygail Kosiara is a Research Assistant II at the Oregon Health and Science University. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from the University of Portland with minors in Neuroscience and Education. Her current study of work is on the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study looking at how neuropsychological, behavioral, genetic, and health factors contribute to emotional, physical, and intellectual growth throughout adolescence. Email: kosiara18@alumni.up.edu
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, Deirdre Katz
  • Psychological Sciences, University of Portland Department of Sociology and Social Work, 5000 N Willamette Blvd, Portland, OR, 97203-5743, USA
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  • Deirdre Katz is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at University of Portland. She earned her M.Ed. from Harvard with a focus in Mind, Brain and Education and her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from Pennsylvania State University under the mentorship of Mark Greenberg. Her current research focuses on the intersection of school-based social and emotional learning (SEL) and psychophysiology in adolescents. She studies the impact of SEL programs delivered in schools may have on the psychological and physiological well-being of students by promoting adaptive coping strategies. Email: katzd@up.edu
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and Sarina Saturn
  • Psychological Sciences, University of Portland Department of Sociology and Social Work, 5000 N Willamette Blvd, Portland, OR, 97203-5743, USA
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  • Sarina Rodrigues Saturn is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Portland. She received her Ph.D. in neuroscience from New York University under the mentorship of Joseph LeDoux and was a postdoctoral scholar with Robert Sapolsky at Stanford University and then with the Greater Good Science Center and Dacher Keltner at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research and teaching background explore the biological and psychological underpinnings of positive and negative social and emotional processing. Email: saturns@up.edu
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Abstract

This study explored how multifaceted facets of humor relate to sex differences and compassion for oneself, others, and the environment (Ntotal = 697; 57.5% female). We utilized the Dispositional Positive Emotions ‘amusement’ subscale (DPES-H), the Humor Styles Questionnaire Self-Enhancing Dimension (HSQ-SE), and the COPE Inventory to assess ‘coping humor’ (COPE-CH) and found that males report significantly higher scores of these humor constructs when compared to females. Considering previous research indicating that humor may be used to enhance oneself and relationships with others, we compared all three humor measures in males and females with reports of self-compassion, other-oriented compassion, and altruistic environmental concern. Interestingly, we found that all three humor scales are significantly related to the multi-faceted measure of self-compassion, the DPES ‘compassion’ subscale (DPES-C), and the environmental concern scale, but specific significant correlations vary according to sex. Altogether, this study explores sex differences in humor experiences and illustrates that women’s experiences with coping humor, DPES humor, and self-enhancing humor are significantly correlated with reports of compassion for oneself and others while men’s experiences with coping humor, DPES humor, and self-enhancing humor are significantly correlated with altruistic environmental concern. Potential basis for these correlations and implications for future research in light of these sex differences and similarities will be discussed.

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HUMOR, the official publication of the International Society for Humor Studies (ISHS), was established over 25 years ago as an international interdisciplinary forum for the publication of high-quality research papers on humor as an important and universal human faculty. The journal publishes original contributions in areas such as interdisciplinary humor research, humor theory, and humor research methodologies.

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