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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton February 13, 2009

How virtuous are gelotophobes? Self- and peer-reported character strengths among those who fear being laughed at

René T. Proyer and Willibald Ruch
From the journal


In this study we combine variables that make our lives most worth living with the fear of being laughed at. Peterson and Seligman (Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification, American Psychological Association, 2004) suggested a classification of 24 strengths of character and six virtues. The virtues are universally evaluated positively across different countries and cultures. A sample of N = 346 participants allowed the examination of correlations between self- and peer-reported character strengths and gelotophobia. The results indicate that gelotophobia is negatively related to overall virtuousness in self-reports and in the same direction but less so in peer-reports. The rank-order of the character strengths showed that mainly modesty and prudence (both of the virtue of temperance) were positively correlated with gelotophobia (this was also supported by peer-reports). Gelotophobia was mainly negatively related to hope/optimism, curiosity, bravery, love, and zest. The analysis of mean score differences revealed that in some cases the mean scores for the peer-reports of character strengths were higher for the highest scoring gelotophobes than for the less gelotophobic and even lower or equal to the mean scores of the non-gelotophobes. This unexpected finding cannot be fully explained and needs to be addressed in follow-up studies. The results of the study clearly indicate that it is worthwhile to study gelotophobia in its relation to variables of positive psychological functioning.

Published Online: 2009-02-13
Published in Print: 2009-February

© 2009 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, D-10785 Berlin

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