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International Journal of Humor Research

Editor-in-Chief: Ford, Thomas E.

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Volume 26, Issue 3


Humor as character strength and its relation to life satisfaction and happiness in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Andrea C. Samson / Yovanni Antonelli
Published Online: 2013-07-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2013-0031


The goal of this study was to examine the importance of humor as character strength in individuals with Asperger's syndrome/High Functioning Autism (AS/HFA) and how it relates to life satisfaction and orientation to happiness. Thirty-three individuals with AS/HFA and 33 gender-, age- and education-matched typically developing (TD) participants filled out scales assessing character strengths (VIA-IS), life satisfaction (SWLS) and orientation to happiness (OTH). Profile analyses of the character strengths and character strengths factors revealed significant differences between the two groups. Humor was found to be the 8th highest out of 24 character strengths in TD, but was only at the 16th position in individuals with AS/HFA when the strengths are rank-ordered. In TD participants, humor is related to life of pleasure, life of engagement, life of meaning and life satisfaction. In individuals with AS/HFA, humor is only related to life of pleasure. This shows that 1) individuals with AS/HFA seem not to consider humor as one of their important strengths, which is in line with humor difficulties reported earlier and 2) humor does not seem to contribute to life satisfaction to the same degree as in TD controls.

Keywords: humor; character strength; Positive Psychology; Autism Spectrum Disorder; Asperger's syndrome

About the article

Andrea C. Samson

Andrea Samson completed her PhD in Psychology (University of Fribourg, Switzerland) on cognitive humor processing, Theory of Mind and its neuronal correlates. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Psychology, Stanford University. Her research interests focus on neural correlates of humor, emotion regulation, Autism, and mixed emotions.

Yovanni Antonelli

Yovanni Antonelli obtained a Master's degree in Social Psychology specializing in the empirical understanding of correlates of sustainable satisfaction with life. She subsequently joined California State University, San Francisco to further examine the role of emotional regulation and apply systematic insights to create behavior change on both individual and organizational levels.

Published Online: 2013-07-13

Published in Print: 2013-07-12

Citation Information: Humor, Volume 26, Issue 3, Pages 477–491, ISSN (Online) 1613-3722, ISSN (Print) 0933-1719, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2013-0031.

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