The present study examined the relationship between humor styles and depression using two methods of examination: (1) the mean humor style differences between individuals who reported that they had been diagnosed with depression versus those who did not report being depressed; and (2) the phenotypic, genetic, and environmental correlations between humor styles and a short scale assessing depressed affect created from preexisting measures in archival data. Participants were 1154 adult Australians, consisting of 339 monozygotic twin pairs and 238 dizygotic twin pairs. With respect to mean differences, depressed individuals were found to use self-defeating humor more and self-enhancing humor less than non-depressed adults. When the depressed affect scale score was analyzed, negative correlations were found with both affiliative and self-enhancing humor. A positive correlation was found between depressed affect and both aggressive and self-defeating humor. These phenotypic correlations were also found to have some significant genetic and environmental correlations.
About the authors
Marisa Kfrerer, MSc. is currently a research assistant at The University of Western Ontario. Her research interests include humor, depression, and other individual differences.
Nicholas G. Martin, Ph.D. is a Senior Scientist in Genetic Epidemiology at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Queensland, Australia.
Julie Aitken Schermer, Ph.D. (personality psychology) is a professor in the Management and Organizational Studies Department at The University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.
Thank you to Rod A. Martin and Philip A. Vernon (Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Science, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada), Lucia Colodro Conde (QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia), Dixie Statham (University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia), and Michael T. Lynskey (Addictions Department, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College) for their contributions to the collection of the data.
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