Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

HUMOR

International Journal of Humor Research

Editor-in-Chief: Ford, Thomas E.

4 Issues per year


IMPACT FACTOR 2016: 0.655
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.718

CiteScore 2016: 0.94

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.458
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.759

Online
ISSN
1613-3722
See all formats and pricing
More options …
Ahead of print

Issues

Can self-defeating humor make you happy? Cognitive interviews reveal the adaptive side of the self-defeating humor style

Sonja Heintz
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Psychology, Personality and Assessment, University of Zurich, Binzmuehlestrasse 14, Box 7, Zürich CH-8050, Switzerland
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Willibald Ruch
  • Department of Psychology, Personality and Assessment, University of Zurich, Binzmuehlestrasse 14, Box 7, Zürich CH-8050, Switzerland
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2018-04-20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2017-0089

Abstract

The present set of studies employs two cognitive interviewing techniques (thinking aloud and online cognitive probing) of the scale assessing the self-defeating humor style, aiming at delineating the role that self-defeating humor plays in self-esteem and emotions. The self-defeating humor style comprises humor to enhance one’s relationships with others at the expense of oneself, and has often been related to lower well-being. The analyses are based on 392 item responses of a typical sample (Study 1) and 104 item responses of high scorers on the self-defeating scale (Study 2). Content analyses revealed that higher scores on the self-defeating scale went along with humor (Study 1), with higher state self-esteem, with an improvement of one’s interpersonal relationships, and with more facial displays of positive emotions (Study 2). Additionally, the more humor was entailed in the item responses, the higher the state self-esteem and the improvement of relationships was and the more positive emotion words were employed. Thus, the humor entailed in the self-defeating humor style seemed rather beneficial both for oneself and others. These findings call for a reevaluation of past findings with this humor style and provide opportunities for future research and applications of humor interventions to improve well-being.

Keywords: self-defeating humor style; Humor Styles Questionnaire; self-esteem; emotions; cognitive interviews; self-directed humor

References

  • Beatty, Paul C & Gordon B Willis. 2007. Research synthesis: The practice of cognitive interviewing. Public Opinion Quarterly 71(2). 287–311.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Behr, Dorothée, Lars Kaczmirek, Wolfgang Bandilla & Michael Braun. 2012. Asking probing questions in web surveys: Which factors have an impact on the quality of responses? Social Science Computer Review 30(4). 487–498.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Bosson, Jennifer K., William B Swann Jr & James W. Pennebaker. 2000. Stalking the perfect measure of implicit self-esteem: The blind men and the elephant revisited? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 79(4). 631–643.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Diener, Ed, Derrick Wirtz, William Tov, Chu Kim-Prieto, Dong-won Choi, Shigehiro Oishi & Robert Biswas-Diener. 2010. New well-being measures: Short scales to assess flourishing and positive and negative feelings. Social Indicators Research 97(2). 143–156.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Ekman, Paul, Wallace V Friesen & Joseph C Hager. 2002. Facial Action Coding System: The manual. Salt Lake City: Research Nexus.Google Scholar

  • Ekman, Paul, William Irwin & Erika L Rosenberg. 1994. EMFACS-8: Coders Instructions. Unpublished manuscript, University of California, San Diego.Google Scholar

  • Ford, Thomas E., Shaun K Lappi, Emma C O’Connor & Noely C Banos. 2017. Manipulating humor styles: Engaging in self-enhancing humor reduces state anxiety. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 30(2). 169–192.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Gignac, Gilles E & Eva T Szodorai. 2016. Effect size guidelines for individual differences researchers. Personality and Individual Differences 102(11). 74–78.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Heintz, Sonja. 2017. Putting a spotlight on daily humor behaviors: Dimensionality and relationships with personality, subjective well-being, and humor styles. Personality and Individual Differences 104(1). 407–412.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Janes, Leslie & James Olson. 2015. Humor as an abrasive or a lubricant in social situations: Martineau revisited. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 28(2). 271–288.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Kuiper, Nicholas A. (ed.). 2014. Humor, well-being and health. [Special issue]. Europe`s Journal of Psychology 10(3).Google Scholar

  • Maiolino, Nadia B & Nicholas A Kuiper. 2014. Integrating humor and positive psychology approaches to psychological well-being. Europe’s Journal of Psychology 10(3). 557–570.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Martin, Rod A., Patricia Puhlik-Doris, Gwen Larsen, Jeanette Gray & Kelly Weir. 2003. Individual differences in uses of humor and their relation to psychological well-being: Development of the Humor Styles Questionnaire. Journal of Research in Personality 37(1). 48–75.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Matsumoto, David, Dacher Keltner, Michelle N. Shiota, Maureen O’Sullivan & Mark Frank. 2010. Facial expression of emotion. In Jeannette M Michael Lewis, Haviland Jones & Lisa F Barrett (eds.), Handbook of emotions (3rd ed.), 211–234. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar

  • McGhee, Paul E. 2010. Humor as survival training for a stressed-out world: The 7 humor habits program. Bloomington: AuthorHouse.Google Scholar

  • McGraw, Kenneth O & Seok P. Wong (1996). Forming inferences about some intraclass correlation coefficients. Psychological Methods 1(1). 30–46.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Pennebaker, James W., Martha E Francis & Roger J Booth. 2001. Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count – LIWC2001. Mahwah: Erlbaum.Google Scholar

  • Rnic, Katerina, David J. A. Dozois & Rod A. Martin. 2016. Cognitive distortions, humor styles, and depression. Europe’s Journal of Psychology 12(3). 348–362CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Rosenberg, Morris. 1965. Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar

  • Rosenberg, Morris, Carmi Schooler, Carrie Schoenbach & Florence Rosenberg. 1995. Global self-esteem and specific self-esteem: Different concepts, different outcomes. American Sociological Review 60(1). 141–156.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Ruch, Willibald & Sonja Heintz. 2013. Humour styles, personality, and psychological well-being: What’s humour got to do with it? European Journal of Humour Research 1(4). 1–24.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Ruch, Willibald & Sonja Heintz. 2017. Experimentally manipulating items informs on the (limited) construct and criterion validity of the Humor Styles Questionnaire. Frontiers in Psychology: Personality and Social Psychology 8(616).CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Ruch, Willibald & Paul E McGhee. 2014. Humor intervention programs. In Acacia C Parks & Stephen M Schueller (eds.), The Wiley Blackwell handbook of positive psychological interventions, 179–193. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar

  • Tracy, Jessica L., Richard W Robins & June P Tangney (eds.). 2007. The self-conscious emotions: Theory and research. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar

  • Zeigler-Hill, Virgil, Gillian A McCabe & Jennifer K Vrabel. 2016. The dark side of humor: DSM-5 pathological personality traits and humor styles. Europe’s Journal of Psychology 12(3). 363–376.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

About the article

Sonja Heintz

Sonja Heintz is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Psychology at the University of Zurich. Her main research interests are individual differences in humor (humor styles, humor behaviors, and humor appreciation/production), the measurement of humor, and positive psychology (e.g., character strengths and well-being).

Willibald Ruch

Willibald Ruch is a Full Professor of Psychology at the University of Zurich. His research interests are in the field of humor and laughter, cheerfulness and smiling. His recent work, together with his research team at the University of Zurich, includes humor from a positive psychology perspective, the effectiveness of humor training programs and clown interventions, the fear of being laughed at (i.e., gelotophobia), and the measurement of humor.


Published Online: 2018-04-20


“Stiftung Humor und Gesundheit” Switzerland, Grant Number: 160ʹ229


Citation Information: HUMOR, ISSN (Online) 1613-3722, ISSN (Print) 0933-1719, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2017-0089.

Export Citation

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston. Copyright Clearance Center

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in