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

Extending the study of gelotophobia: On gelotophiles and katagelasticists

Willibald Ruch and René T. Proyer
From the journal


In Ruch and Proyer (Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 21:47–67, 2008a), the fear of being laughed at (gelotophobia) was introduced as a new individual differences phenomenon. In this article, two new laughter-related concepts are presented: gelotophilia (the joy of being laughed at) and katagelasticism (the joy of laughing at others). The main aim of the present article was an empirical verification of these three concepts. Data analyses from a construction (N = 390) and a replication sample (N = 157) led to a three factor solution for the data comprising the three concepts. Intercorrelations among the three groups suggest that there is a negative correlation between gelotophiles and gelotophobes and a positive relation between gelotophiles and katagelasticists. The correlation coefficients, however, indicate that there is a relation but that the concepts are not interchangeable. A reliable and stable standard 45-item questionnaire (PhoPhiKat-45) and an economic short form of 30 items (PhoPhiKat-30) for the assessment of the three concepts are presented. Additionally, it was shown that, contrary to what had to be expected from early literature on gelotophobia, remembered experiences of having been laughed at by parents and peers in childhood and youth cannot be considered as major contributors to the development of gelotophobic symptoms as an adult (the same is true for gelotophilia and katagelasticism). However, gelotophobes tended to remember more events of having been ridiculed by their father. Suggestions for future research and conceptual developments are given.

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

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

Scroll Up Arrow