The relationship of teasing in childhood to the expression of gelotophobia in adults

Psychological Test and Assessment Modeling 01/2010; 52(1). DOI: 10.5167/uzh-33203
Source: DOAJ


In observations from clinical practice, the origin of gelotophobia, the fear of being laughed at, was traced back to traumatizing experiences of being laughed at in childhood. Because gelotophobia is assumed to be mediated by a personal sense of shame, this hypothesis was tested using a group of gelotophobes (N = 99), a shame-based clinical group (N = 103), a non shame-based clinical group (N = 166), and normal controls (N = 495). While gelotophobes and the shame-based group reported having had more traumatizing experiences than the normal controls and the non shame-based group, their intensity and frequency did not explain individual differences in the fear of being laughed at for gelotophobes and the shame-based group.

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    • "The four-and five-factor solution would speak for a splitting up of either one (or more) of the three scales. We used the WLSMV estimator to analyze the polychoric correlations (Hancock and Mueller 2006; Ruch et al. 2010 "
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the fear of being laughed at (gelotophobia), the joy in being laughed at (gelotophilia), and the joy in laughing at others (katagelasticism) in adolescent students (N = 324, 13–15 years). Gelotophobia was associated primarily with the victim and katagelasticism with the bully-role (self- and peer reports). Gelotophobia correlated with laughing at oneself if experiencing an embarrassing situation. Gelotophilia increased with the propensity to laugh if observing or experiencing embarrassment; katagelasticism increased with laughing if observing something embarrassing in another person. Imagining potentially embarrassing situations was associated with greater feelings of anxiety, shame, sadness, and embarrassment; gelotophilia with joy and cheerfulness. The study breaks the ground for a better understanding on how adolescent students deal with laughter and ridicule.
    Social Psychology of Education 01/2014; 16(3). DOI:10.1007/s11218-013-9221-y · 0.94 Impact Factor
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    • "We assume that individuals with AS score higher on gelotophobia, as they might have been exposed to more teasing and bullying situations in their past. However, clinically diagnosed gelotophobes did not remember more incidents of having been laughed at in their childhood and youth than a control group (Ruch et al. 2010). However, Platt et al. (2009) demonstrated that the expression of gelotophobia was a very potent predictor of remembered incidents of having been bullied, and Proyer et al. (2009) showed that gelotophobes recalled the situations of being laughed at with a higher intensity of feelings. "
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    ABSTRACT: The present paper investigated the fear of being laughed at (gelotophobia) in relation to recalled experiences of having been laughed at in the past in individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS). About 45% of the individuals with AS (N = 40), but only 6% of the controls (N = 83) had at least a slight form of gelotophobia, which is the highest percentage ever found in the literature. Gelotophobia correlated with the frequency and severity of remembered teasing and mocking situations in the past. This indicates that gelotophobia is an important issue in individuals with AS. Furthermore, individuals with AS are less able to laugh at themselves (gelotophilia), but enjoy laughing at others (katagelasticism, a more hostile form of humor) to the same extent as controls do.
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    • "However, the question arises on whether the (dis-)similarities could be harmful or a protective factor in the developmental processes. The level of certainty or uncertainty for the child regarding the parenting behavior of the parents might also have an impact on how they deal with ridicule and being laughed at (see Titze 2009; Ruch et al. 2010; Weibel and Proyer 2012). Furthermore, it might be fruitful studying different parenting tactics in more detail (e.g., differentiating between different forms of punishment or support). "
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    ABSTRACT: Familial aggregation and the effect of parenting styles on three dispositions toward ridicule and being laughed at were tested. Nearly 100 families (parents, their adult children, and their siblings) completed subjective questionnaires to assess the presence of gelotophobia (the fear of being laughed at), gelotophilia (the joy of being laughed at), and katagelasticism (the joy of laughing at others). A positive relationship between fear of being laughed at in children and their parents was found. Results for gelotophilia were similar but numerically lower; if split by gender of the adult child, correlations to the mother’s gelotophilia exceeded those of the father. Katagelasticism arose independently from the scores in the parents but was robustly related to greater katagelasticism in the children’s siblings. Gelotophobes remembered punishment (especially from the mother), lower warmth and higher control from their parents (this was also found in the parents’ recollections of their parenting style). The incidence of gelotophilia was unrelated to specific parenting styles, and katagelasticism exhibited only weak relations with punishment. The study suggests a specific pattern in the relation of the three dispositions within families and argues for a strong impact of parenting styles on gelotophobia but less so for gelotophilia and katagelasticism.
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