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The Use of Gallows Humor and Dark Humor during Crisis Situations

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Abstract

Types of humor as used by crisis interveners and first responders to emergency situations will be reviewed. Various disciplines, authors, researchers, and practitioners will be cited to help explain and clarify issues related to the use of humor in such situations and settings. The main focus is on the use of humor as a cognitive and/or behavioral coping strategy which is considered by many to be a reaction to stress events. The article proposes a model including progressive steps of humor, ranging from a respectful to a sarcastic.

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... Humor was also found to be used as a type of social support to help emergency workers deal with critical incidents (Haslam & Mallon, 2003). When dealing with critical incidents the type of humor utilized was termed ―gallows humor‖ or ―black humor‖ (Maxwell, 2003; Moran & Massam, 1997; Scott, 2007). The use of gallows humor by emergency nurses was a way for nurses to relieve stress and tension in the face of a critical incident and was the second most commonly used form of coping in a study of emergency nurses (N = 173) (Eager, 2003), as well as with focus groups in a study of emergency nurses (no N reported) (Scott, 2007). ...
... The use of gallows humor by emergency nurses was a way for nurses to relieve stress and tension in the face of a critical incident and was the second most commonly used form of coping in a study of emergency nurses (N = 173) (Eager, 2003), as well as with focus groups in a study of emergency nurses (no N reported) (Scott, 2007). The humor may have mitigated the effects of the critical incident (Moran & Massam, 1997) and reduced feelings of grief, sorrow, helplessness and anger (Maxwell, 2003). Additionally, humor allowed emergency workers to share the emotionally charged critical incident (Fullerton, McCarroll, Ursano, & Wright, 1992). ...
... Additionally, humor allowed emergency workers to share the emotionally charged critical incident (Fullerton, McCarroll, Ursano, & Wright, 1992). Emergency workers were not being disrespectful to their patients by using such humor during critical incidents (Maxwell, 2003), but realized that this humor may be misconstrued if used within hearing distance of the public (Moran & Massam, 1997). In summary, specific critical incidents have been identified by nurses as being stressful. ...
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This qualitative descriptive research study was undertaken to describe the experiences of emergency nurses with critical incidents and identify strategies used to manage these situations in the emergency department setting. Critical incidents are events, such as death or serious injury, that cause a strong emotional reaction and may overwhelm a nurse‘s usual coping skills. Nineteen nurses who worked in one of two community-based emergency departments in Central Massachusetts were interviewed and asked to describe a critical incident they had experienced in their nursing career. Qualitative content analysis revealed two major themes: (1) critical incident experiences; and (2) aftermath; and five subthemes: (a) connections; (b) workplace culture; (c) responses; (d) lasting effects; and (e) strategies. Critical incidents were limited to events with children, patient deaths, and interactions with family; this differed from prior research in that no incidents were identified involving multiple casualties, violence, or mutilating injuries. Connections occurred when the patient was known to the nurse or reminded the nurse of self or family. Responses were the reactions of the participants to the critical incident and were physical, psychological, and spiritual in nature. The majority of study participants cried in response to a critical incident. Workplace culture, a subtheme not found in other studies, involved their perceptions of expected behavior in the emergency department and emphasized the influence of workplace culture on newer or inexperienced nurses. The theme of aftermath described the time period following critical incident. Lasting effects occurred in the form of vivid memories that were triggered by different stimuli. The subtheme, strategies, revealed that nurses desired, but lacked formal strategies to manage their reactions following a critical incident. Thus, they described the use of informal strategies such as talking to co-workers and family members. Implications of this study support the need for educational preparation and support of emergency nurses who deal with critical incidents in the workplace. Intervening during the critical incident experience and having follow-up strategies in place to prevent distress and enhance coping in the aftermath are important for well-being, practice, and patient care in the emergency setting.
... Studies have shown that laughing helps to ease discomfort. [26][27][28][29][30][31] Several investigators reported the use of humor by nurses and emergency first responders in response to crisis. [29][30][31] In two studies, humor had a positive connotation in that it was able to shift perspective, diffuse tension, raise energy level, build cohesion in a team, and strengthen the physical, psychological, and spiritual aspects of one's personhood. ...
... [26][27][28][29][30][31] Several investigators reported the use of humor by nurses and emergency first responders in response to crisis. [29][30][31] In two studies, humor had a positive connotation in that it was able to shift perspective, diffuse tension, raise energy level, build cohesion in a team, and strengthen the physical, psychological, and spiritual aspects of one's personhood. 29,31 One previous study reported the preferential use of humor as a means of coping among men 32 ; hence, the use of humor among the physicians, of whom the majority were men, was understandable. ...
... However, the questionnaire was not qualitative and did not allow the authors to examine whether the use of humor was appropriate, respectful, or sarcastic. 30 The coping responses of the ED HCWs contrasted markedly with the responses of primary care HCWs in the report by Sim et al., 12 in which there was more use of denial and behavioral disengagement, and less use of humor. Given the vastly different resources provided to and psychosocial measures adopted by the study hospital and the primary health care setting, the differences in response between the two groups of HCWs were not unexpected. ...
Article
On March 13, 2003, Singapore physicians were alerted about an outbreak of atypical pneumonia that became known as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). I describe the application of an emergency department (ED) disaster response plan to manage the SARS outbreak. The ED implemented protection for staff, patients, and facility; infection control measures; and disaster-response workflow changes. The Ministry of Health, Singapore, centralized SARS cases in the hospital, and the ED became the national screening center. A screening questionnaire and a set of admission criteria were applied after assessment of clinical features and chest radiograph findings. For the duration of the outbreak that ended on May 31, 2003, the ED screened 11,461 persons for SARS, of whom 1,386 (12.9%) were admitted to rule out SARS and 235 (17%) were confirmed to have SARS. Among 10,075 persons discharged from the ED, there were 28 reattending patients who were admitted and diagnosed with SARS, giving an undertriage rate of 0.3% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.1% to 0.4%). The sensitivity of an ED admission for SARS was 89.4% (95% CI 85.6% to 93.1%), and specificity was 89.7% (95% CI 89.2% to 90.3%). The positive predictive value was 17% (95% CI 15.7% to 18.4%), and the negative predictive value was 99.7% (95% CI 99.6% to 99.8%). No patient contracted SARS as a result of an ED visit. After full implementation of protective measures, 1 ED nurse with undiagnosed diabetes mellitus was treated for suspected SARS. Although the SARS outbreak was not a bioterrorism event, the ED disaster response was applicable in the outbreak's management. The use of a screening questionnaire and admission criteria enabled the ED to screen, treat, and safely discharge the majority of the patients.
... Studies have shown that laughing helps to ease discomfort. [26][27][28][29][30][31] Several investigators reported the use of humor by nurses and emergency first responders in response to crisis. [29][30][31] In two studies, humor had a positive connotation in that it was able to shift perspective, diffuse tension, raise energy level, build cohesion in a team, and strengthen the physical, psychological, and spiritual aspects of one's personhood. ...
... [26][27][28][29][30][31] Several investigators reported the use of humor by nurses and emergency first responders in response to crisis. [29][30][31] In two studies, humor had a positive connotation in that it was able to shift perspective, diffuse tension, raise energy level, build cohesion in a team, and strengthen the physical, psychological, and spiritual aspects of one's personhood. 29,31 One previous study reported the preferential use of humor as a means of coping among men 32 ; hence, the use of humor among the physicians, of whom the majority were men, was understandable. ...
... However, the questionnaire was not qualitative and did not allow the authors to examine whether the use of humor was appropriate, respectful, or sarcastic. 30 The coping responses of the ED HCWs contrasted markedly with the responses of primary care HCWs in the report by Sim et al., 12 in which there was more use of denial and behavioral disengagement, and less use of humor. Given the vastly different resources provided to and psychosocial measures adopted by the study hospital and the primary health care setting, the differences in response between the two groups of HCWs were not unexpected. ...
Article
During the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak, health care workers (HCWs) experienced unusual stressors. The study hospital introduced psychosocial interventions to help HCWs. This study aimed to examine the coping strategies adopted by the emergency department (ED) HCWs who cared for the SARS patients. In November 2003, a self-administered questionnaire of physicians and nurses was conducted in the hospital ED that is the national SARS screening center in Singapore. Data collected included demographics and responses to these instruments: 1) the Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced (COPE) to assess coping strategies, 2) the Impact of Event Scale (IES) to measure psychological reactions, and 3) the General Health Questionnaire 28 (GHQ 28) to measure psychiatric morbidity. Thirty-eight of 41 (92.7%) physicians and 58 of 83 (69.9%) nurses responded. The respondents reported a preference for problem-focused and emotion-focused coping measures. The physicians chose humor as a coping response significantly more frequently (p < 0.001) than nurses, scoring 9.61/16 (95% CI = 8.52 to 10.69), compared with the nurses' score of 7.05/16 (95% CI = 6.28 to 7.83). The Filipino HCWs turned to religion as a coping response significantly more frequently (p < 0.001) than the non-Filipino HCWs, scoring 14.38/16 (95% CI = 13.33 to 15.42), compared with 9.93/16 (95% CI = 9.00 to 10.87) for the non-Filipinos. Psychiatric morbidity was 17.7% on the IES and 18.8% on the GHQ 28, with the trend for physicians to report lower psychiatric morbidity. With a supportive hospital environment, ED HCWs chose adaptive coping in response to the outbreak and reported low psychiatric morbidity. Physicians chose humor and Filipinos chose turning to religion as their preferred responses. Psychosocial interventions to help HCWs need to take these preferences into account.
... To buffer against the death anxiety caused by the lack of control over the circumstances of the life-threatening COVID-19 pandemic, individuals often used gallows humor. Gallows humor is a form of dark humor that makes light of existential concerns, often used in times of predicament as a means to regain control in uncontrollable circumstances [57]. Indeed, some memes contain gallows humor such as the following: "Test results: Cannabis: Positive, AIDS: Positive, Cocaine: Positive, Corona: Negative. ...
Article
Full-text available
According to Terror Management Theory (TMT), there are three common buffers that minimize the anxiety of mortality salience: affirmation of a) one’s cultural worldview, b) the self and one’s personal values, and c) one’s significance in the context of close personal relationships. The current study aimed at examining the contents of memes, which were distributed on social media during the COVID-19 outbreak, to explore the means by which humor buffers against death anxiety. A deductive and inductive thematic analysis captured three means by which humor buffers against death anxiety, a) humor as a means for connecting to cultural worldviews; b) humor as a means for inclusion in group; c) humor as a means to gain a sense of control. These findings are discussed through the theoretical lens of TMT.
... Humor studies enjoy a rich philosophical and theoretical discourse in many disciplines, and, critically, tend to have an interdisciplinary reach. Humor research has been published under the aegis of philosophy [1], linguistics [2,3], public health, nursing, psychology, sociology [4,94], anthropology [2,5], communication and media studies [6], neurology [7], marketing [8], journalism [95,96] education [9], and biology [10], among other disciplines. ...
Article
Full-text available
Studies from a variety of disciplines reveal that humor can be a useful method to reduce stress and increase compassion, connection, and empathy between agencies and people they serve during times of crisis. Despite this growing evidence base, humor's use during a geohazard (earthquake, volcanoes, landslides, and tsunami) to aid scientific agencies' crisis communication response has been rarely studied. A broad literature review of humor in crisis and an exploratory examination of several case studies reveal that scientific organizations, specifically those that respond to geohazards, can harness the power of humor to help create connection and empathy with the publics they seek to serve. We find evidence that supports our argument that the use of humor acknowledges a shared human experience, reducing the barriers between public officials, scientists, and the people most impacted by crisis. Public statements made by scientists and public officials during the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) response to the Kīlauea eruption in 2018 in Hawai'i, United States, and GNS Science/GeoNet (GeoNet) response to the M7.8 Kaikōura/North Hurunui earthquake in 2016 in Aotearoa New Zealand, are used to inform the development of this conceptual model. We then posit a conceptual model which unifies concepts from the literature with our case studies to provide potential guidelines for those crisis communicators working for science agencies on how best to use humor to help people cope during times of crisis. This model can be further tested for future research to determine its effectiveness and utility for scientific agencies responding to geological crises.
... Ability to see problems from a security perspective and compliment the work of police can facilitate relational development. A sense of humor and aptitude for light conversation is not only useful for building relationships, it can help prevent burnout (Maxwell, 2003;Talbot & Lumden, 1999). Ability to build constructive relationships with hospital and shelter staff is also valuable for problem solving and referral processes (Steadman & Morrissette, 2016). ...
Article
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Public outrage over police-involved deaths of people in mental health crisis has prompted governments to expand access to crisis services that partner police with social workers. Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams (MCIT) offer assessment and support for people in distress while averting escalation. Little attention has been given to the requisite competencies for social workers on MCITs. This narrative review, informed by crisis theory and the author’s experience as an MCIT social worker, provides a roadmap of knowledge and skills to familiarize practitioners, educators, and students with this growing intervention model. Social workers on MCITs should have the capacity to engage complex clients, de-escalate tension, assess for risk, plan for safety, provide brief addiction counselling, diffuse interpersonal conflict, link clients with community resources, advocate for change, challenge systemic racism, build constructive relationships, and document services with awareness of relevant legislation. The role of social workers on MCITs is multifaceted and requires attention to balancing client well-being, client safety, and community safety. The practice insights discussed in this article are relevant to preventing harm and loss of life while facilitating engagement between clients and mental health services.
... In terms of adaptive coping, only humour (the experience of or ability to elicit laughter or amusement) was found to significantly reduce fear of COVID-19, resonating with past literature that has found humour as a valuable coping strategy in reducing stress and promoting emotional well-being (Crawford & Caltabiano, 2011;Maxwell, 2003). This finding is especially interesting and reflective of the early months of the pandemic where COVID-19 memes, short comic videos and dark humor were highly dispersed on social media and avidly consumed by the youth (Bischetti et al., 2020). ...
Article
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The advent of the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the psychological well-being of many people. This study examined the relationship between fear of COVID-19, psychological distress (depression, anxiety, and stress) and coping strategies adopted by undergraduate students in Ghana. A sample of 209 students were recruited to complete online surveys on fear of COVID-19, psychological distress and coping strategies between June and July 2020. Students scored between normal to mild levels of psychological distress but above average scores on fear of coronavirus (M = 19.45, SD = 6.04). Fear of COVID-19 was positively related to psychological distress. Only maladaptive coping was found to be significantly and positively associated with fear of COVID-19. However post-hoc analysis of the components of coping strategies revealed that denial (β = .17, p = .028), venting (β = .18, p = .036) and humour (β = −.18, p = .023; an adaptive coping strategy) were associated with fear of COVID-19. Finally, both adaptive coping and maladaptive coping strategies had a mediating effect on fear of COVID-19 and psychological distress. These findings emphasize the need to design and optimize institutional interventions that will assess psychological distress and fear of COVID-19 levels during this pandemic and provide psychotherapeutic support for students as they return to school.
... This viewpoint relying on Freud's theory highlights the therapeutic force of humour, the way in which 'humour can be utilized to break a client's resistance, reduce tension, generate catharsis, and increase trust in the client/therapist relationship' (Dziegielewski 2003: 74). In crisis situations gallows humour and dark humour work as cognitive and behavioral coping strategies in reaction to stressful events (Maxwell 2003), techniques neutralizing emotionally charged areas, providing hope in multiple ways, happening at various spatial scales simultaneously (Ridanpää 2019). Similarly, within the context of Anthropocene studies it has been argued that humour functions as a coping strategy against the threats that climate change represents: 'comedic communications about climate change increase salience of climate change and expose audiences to new ways of learning about associated threats, challenges and opportunities' (Boykoff and Osnes 2019: 155). ...
Article
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Humour is commonly associated with enjoyment, which, partly mistakenly, is considered to be an antidote to seriousness (Ridanpää 2014a). However, humour has several social, political, cultural and economic functions which in most cases are not acknowledged, due to its common associations with buoyancy, innocent amusement and entertainment. Various narrative forms of humour are almost always socially, culturally and geographically conditional, transforming alongside local and global socio-political changes (Davies 1990; Ridanpää 2014b). The concept of crisis refers to multiple forms of ruptures, events, during which the normal rhythm of (social, political, economic, psychological, everyday) life is halted. As a result the concept of crisis entails a certain sense of seriousness, or to be more precise, seriousness is an elementary aspect of what crises mean in practice. This said, there can easily be found several convergences of crisis and humour, but do we need or want to scrutinize these convergences, getting behind the logic and semiotic structures through which serious events change into something which might prompt laughter?
... In addition, humor on Covid-19 manifested in different modalities, including all typical forms of digital humor commonly shared on social media, such as funny short texts, cartoons, and memes (Shifman, 2014 Like many types of humor, Covid-19 humor is also based on an incongruity (Forabosco, 2008(Forabosco, , 1992: the background situation related to the Coronavirus pandemic sets up tragic expectations, which the stimulus diverts from, setting a humorous clash by means of more or less innocuous themes, such as television catchphrases or refrains of songs. With respect to the thematic contents, Covid-19 humor may be considered a form of dark humor, namely the kind of humor that touches upon matters of death or morbid topics and elicits a bitter amusement (Bucaria, 2008;Maxwell, 2003), or that is inspired by traumatic and difficult situations, such as tragedies and background crises (Dynel and Poppi, 2018). To account for the timely rise of humor based on shocking events, some scholars label these forms of humor as ''disaster humor'' (Kuipers, 2002) since they appear soon after incidents and generally follow the media coverage of the facts (Davies, 2003). ...
Article
We often see an upsurge of humor inspired by tragic circumstances: this happened also during the Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak. However, little is known about the emotional response to tragedy-triggered humor, let alone Covid-19 humor. With a large-scale survey completed during the early stages of Italy's lockdown, we studied the appreciation (funniness and aversiveness) of different formats of Covid-19 humor shared on social media. Results of an analysis of the role of demographic, personality, and psychological distance factors with linear mixed models showed that Covid-19 humor lacks a ''signature'' of funniness, but displays a mark of aversiveness. Among demographics, age and gender were key factors: with increasing age and in women, Covid-19 humor was judged as more aversive. Individuals using humor to cope with uneasy circumstances judged Covid-19 humor as funnier and less aversive. Furthermore, the perceived risk of infection amplified Covid-19 humor aversiveness, while kilometrical distance from the first Italian contagion hotspot raised the amusement in global terms. These findings expand our knowledge about dark humor and should raise awareness of the great variation in the emotional impact of Covid-19 humor and of the need to ponder where and with whom to share the laugh about the pandemic.
... Davies [14] in his book argues that those who engage in racist and sexist jokes do not necessarily believe the stereotypes that the jokes express. Maxwell [15] in his paper brings forth the importance of dark humour as a cognitive and/or behavioral coping strategy which is considered to be a reaction to a traumatic event and proposes a model including progressive steps of humour, ranging from respectful to sarcastic. ...
... Some studies have also suggested other ways of relieving the psychological stress experienced by frontline medical staff, such as humor [11] . One such study showed that nurses and emergency workers used humor to deal with crises [25] . Other studies have found that humor has a positive meaning because it can shift perspectives, disperse tension, improve energy levels, and build cohesion within the team, in addition to strengthening an individual's physical, psychological, and spiritual abilities [26,27] . ...
Article
Like soldiers, frontline medical staff provide a first line of defense and have played a critical role in responses to the outbreak of coronavirus disease-2019 in December 2019. It is important to acknowledge the considerable pressure placed on frontline medical staff in the face of a new type of coronavirus that is highly infectious and for which no specific treatment is available. Here, we review the various kinds of psychological problems afflicting frontline medical staff who are combatting the severe acute respiratory syndrome epidemic. These include anxiety, insomnia, depression, interpersonal difficulties, and post-traumatic stress disorder syndrome. We further present a summary of countermeasures for alleviating these problems based on our findings. These countermeasures include ensuring the provision of adequate protective gear for frontline medical staff, developing timely and clear guidelines, strengthening social support, and providing clear criteria and additional training, focusing on the choice of frontline medical staff. An understanding of the psychological impacts of an epidemic situation and of relevant countermeasures will contribute to reducing the psychological pressures on frontline medical staff. Consequently, they will be able to cope better with outbreaks of infectious diseases in the future, to reduce the psychological pressure of the front-line medical staff, and to improve the treatment level.
... In addition, humor on Covid-19 manifested in different modalities, including all typical forms of digital humor commonly shared on social media, such as funny short texts, cartoons, and memes (Shifman, 2014 Like many types of humor, Covid-19 humor is also based on an incongruity (Forabosco, 2008(Forabosco, , 1992: the background situation related to the Coronavirus pandemic sets up tragic expectations, which the stimulus diverts from, setting a humorous clash by means of more or less innocuous themes, such as television catchphrases or refrains of songs. With respect to the thematic contents, Covid-19 humor may be considered a form of dark humor, namely the kind of humor that touches upon matters of death or morbid topics and elicits a bitter amusement (Bucaria, 2008;Maxwell, 2003), or that is inspired by traumatic and difficult situations, such as tragedies and background crises (Dynel and Poppi, 2018). To account for the timely rise of humor based on shocking events, some scholars label these forms of humor as ''disaster humor'' (Kuipers, 2002) since they appear soon after incidents and generally follow the media coverage of the facts (Davies, 2003). ...
Preprint
In tragic circumstances, it is not uncommon to see an upsurge in the generation of disaster jokes, which humorously depict the macabre aspects of ongoing crises. Many of such jokes appeared also at the time of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak, often becoming viral. However, little is known about the emotional response to disaster jokes, let alone Covid-19 ones. With a large-scale survey completed during Italy’s nationwide lockdown, we studied the appreciation, i.e., funniness and aversiveness, of Covid-19 humor. Using a mixed models approach, we also analyzed the role of personality factors and psychological distance. Results showed that Covid-19 humor is associated with a mark of aversiveness, greater than for non-pandemic humor. Individuals more inclined to use humor to cope with uneasy circumstances perceived Covid-19 humor as funnier and less aversive. Furthermore, the perceived risk of being infected with SARS-CoV-2 amplified Covid-19 humor aversiveness, while greater spatial distance from the Italian epicenter of the contagion allowed to deeper enjoy humor both related and not-related to Covid-19. These findings should raise awareness on the emotional correlates to Covid-19 humor, of possible support in deciding whether and with whom to joke on the pandemic in social and political communication.
... Mizah ve stres arasındaki ilişki son yıllarda farklı boyutlarıyla ele alınan bir çalışma konusu olmuştur. Araştırmalarda mizah ve stresle başa çıkma arasındaki ilişkiler incelemiş ve mizahın stres, depresyon ve kaygı üzerinde düzenleyici bir etkiye sahip olduğu ve mizahın insanlara stresle başa çıkmalarında yardımcı olduğu vurgulanmıştır (Abel, 2002;Abel ve Maxvell, 2002;Martin ve Lefcourt, 1983;Martin ve Dobbin, 1988;Maxvell, 2003;Nezu, Nezu ve Blisset, 1988;Kuiper, Martin ve Olinger, 1993;Moran ve Massam, 1999;Nezlek ve Derks, 2001;Recepoglu, 2011;Ventis, Highbee ve Murdoch, 2001;Yerlikaya, 2007). ...
... Black humour (or gallows humour) was discussed by participants in this research as an emotion focused coping technique, officers often made light of otherwise serious situations in order to psychologically cope with the traumatic workplace experiences. Maxwell (2003) supports the use of black humour citing it as a regular coping strategy particularly for emergency service staff and other professionals. Black humour as a process works as being extremely effective in controlling negative emotional backlashes to workplace stressors (Rowe & Regher., 2010) by uniting officers through a form of 'connection' that establishes or reinforces community spirit (Cohen., 1999) Participants discussed their families as an outlet for coping during leisure-time recovery from workplace stress (Barnett et al., 1992), further debunking literature suggesting family and work are not related entities (Dubin., 1973). ...
Preprint
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The role of an individuals’ leisure-time for workplace recovery has received greater depth ofresearch in recent years (de Bloom et al, 2009; Sonnentag, 2001); highlighting that leisure-time activities can mitigate workplace stressors and facilitate recovery. Despite the wealth of general work-recovery literature, a prison environment offers a unique working environment for its staff (Triplett, Mullings & Scarborough., 1996). As a result of this unique working environment, this research explored the experiences of Prison officers during both work and leisure-time. The data was based on the experiences of three Officers, all of which worked at Guernsey’s ‘Les Nicolle’s’ Prison. Their experiences were explored using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Two master themes emerged; “switching off from prison life” and “relationships”. “Switching off from prison life” supported universal literature on general workplace recovery, whilst “relationships” provided new insights on the importance of relationships for prison officers, particularly with colleagues. This research has been useful in detailing future academic research directions, including an investigation of the mediating effect of officer conflict on leisure-time recovery. This study also recommended practical organisational implications for the prison, including cultural change and revised hiring strategies.
... The benefit of using humor during an event of crisis is often associated with its levity and relieving effects (Liu and Fraustino 2014). In crisis situations gallows humor and dark humor work as a cognitive and behavioral coping strategy in reaction to stressful events (Maxwell 2003). In psychological studies it has been underscored how in times of tragedy and crisis, humor functions as a technique for neutralizing emotionally charged areas and by that means provides hope (Simon 1988). ...
Article
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Although humor is generally associated with innocent amusement, in the case of crisis events it has various psychological, social and politically charged effects, both negative and positive. In times of crisis humor functions as a technique for neutralizing emotionally charged areas and by that means provides hope. On the other hand, in contemporary society there exist sensitive socially restricted and culturally dependent boundaries beyond which humor is not permitted to extend. This article discusses how humor becomes politicized when it functions as a part of crisis events, both as a trigger for crises and as a strategic tool to manage them. Specific attention is paid to the impact of spatiality by dissecting how the links between crisis and humor change when the scalar perspective shifts and how different spatial levels interact when humor becomes political. ‘Body’, ‘local’, ‘regional’, ‘national’ and ‘global’ are important spatial abstractions across which the socio-political meanings connecting humor and crisis events become produced.
... Characters or situations are usually exaggerated far beyond the limits of normal satire or irony, potentially requiring increased cognitive efforts to get the joke. Furthermore, black humour, often uses devices associated with tragedy, is sometimes equated with tragic farce (Lagasse et al. 2000) and is perceived as morbid, nasty, psychopathic, twisted and often very funny (Maxwell 2003). ...
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Humour processing is a complex information-processing task that is dependent on cognitive and emotional aspects which presumably influence frame-shifting and conceptual blending, mental operations that underlie humour processing. The aim of the current study was to find distinctive groups of subjects with respect to black humour processing, intellectual capacities, mood disturbance and aggressiveness. A total of 156 adults rated black humour cartoons and conducted measurements of verbal and nonverbal intelligence, mood disturbance and aggressiveness. Cluster analysis yields three groups comprising following properties: (1) moderate black humour preference and moderate comprehension; average nonverbal and verbal intelligence; low mood disturbance and moderate aggressiveness; (2) low black humour preference and moderate comprehension; average nonverbal and verbal intelligence, high mood disturbance and high aggressiveness; and (3) high black humour preference and high comprehension; high nonverbal and verbal intelligence; no mood disturbance and low aggressiveness. Age and gender do not differ significantly, differences in education level can be found. Black humour preference and comprehension are positively associated with higher verbal and nonverbal intelligence as well as higher levels of education. Emotional instability and higher aggressiveness apparently lead to decreased levels of pleasure when dealing with black humour. These results support the hypothesis that humour processing involves cognitive as well as affective components and suggest that these variables influence the execution of frame-shifting and conceptual blending in the course of humour processing.
... According to Lazarus (1991), goalcongruent emotions result from an appraisal process in which an event is understood to be not only relevant to personal goals, but relevant in such a way that the event is interpreted to facilitate the achievement of personal goals. In the case of certain types of humor, such as ''gallows humor,'' which results from morbid and even horrible events (Kuhlman, 1988;Maxwell, 2003;O'Connell, 1968;Thorson, 1985), it is difficult to imagine that humor or mirth is necessarily goal-congruent. Evidence suggests, however, that humor tends to result from an ambiguous stimulus, such as the narrative of a joke. ...
... The crisis rhetoric literature has examined communication strategies like apologia, instruction, and differentiation (Hoffman and Ford 2010). 3 Within this tradition, humor has been seen as a tool for negotiating economic crises, coping with stress, repairing one's image, and as a method often employed by underserved populations-but the slippery nature of humor can also create its own problems in public affairs (Achter 2008;Compton 2011;Kuipers 2011;Maxwell 2003;Waisanen 2011;Willems 2011). As another crisis device, I find that enthymematic joking can address political demands and pressures that threaten a president's image or standing. ...
Article
To understand how jokes have functioned as part of U.S. presidents' strategic communication, this project examined every available White House Correspondents' Dinner (WHCD) speech over the last century, documenting various presidents' approaches to humor. I argue that the ability to talk about difficult or taboo subjects through jokes' deeply enthymematic ways of communicating has offered presidents expanded rhetorical spaces during crises, providing insights into why they started using humor with such routine frequency. Working with multiple factors shaping the modern presidency, presidents have used the elastic and inventive nature of enthymematic joking in attempts to move pressing issues outside immediate lines of criticism. The use of jokes in presidential communication is charted through three periods of WHCD. Several implications are drawn from this analysis, including the risks of humor as a rhetorical strategy.
... How do we see the dynamic of power manifest? Do we think that the psychiatrist felt a certain level of comfort and therefore resorted to gallows humor (Maxwell, 2003) with the MSW because of their shared racial identity and the assumption of a tacit understanding of each other's humor? ...
Article
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In 2001, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) adopted 10 discrete standards of culturally competent practice which undergird our commitment to diversity and social justice. The concept of intersectionality is newly emerging in social work, though, causing us to reflect on our current conceptualizations of cultural competence. According to this construct, in order to understand one aspect of the self, such as race, we have to understand how gender, ethnicity, sexuality, social class, and other markers influence one another. The authors present the concepts of cultural competence, social identity, and intersectionality in order to deepen our anti-oppression, social justice approach.
... 19,20 While perhaps used as a means to vent frustrations and cope with stress, such remarks or "gallows" humor may have unintended adverse effects on trainees and others in the environment. [21][22][23] Improving student experience of and, thus, training in professionalism may be accomplished most effectively through department-wide awareness and priorities. This is the dimension most associated with the "hidden curriculum" in which enacted social norms can supersede written objectives. ...
... 19,20 While perhaps used as a means to vent frustrations and cope with stress, such remarks or "gallows" humor may have unintended adverse effects on trainees and others in the environment. [21][22][23] Improving student experience of and, thus, training in professionalism may be accomplished most effectively through department-wide awareness and priorities. This is the dimension most associated with the "hidden curriculum" in which enacted social norms can supersede written objectives. ...
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PURPOSE: To determine whether a brief student survey can differentiate among third-year clerkship student's professionalism experiences and whether sharing specific feedback with surgery faculty and residents can lead to improvements. METHODS: Medical students completed a survey on professionalism at the conclusion of each third-year clerkship specialty rotation during academic years 2007-2010. RESULTS: Comparisons of survey items in 2007-2008 revealed significantly lower ratings for the surgery clerkship on both Excellence (F 10.75, p 0.001) and Altruism/Respect (F 15.59, p 0.001) subscales. These data were shared with clerkship directors, prompting the surgery department to discuss student perceptions of professionalism with faculty and residents. Postmeeting ratings of surgery professionalism significantly improved on both Excellence and Altruism/Respect dimensions (p 0.005 for each). CONCLUSIONS: A brief survey can be used to measure student perceptions of professionalism and an intervention as simple as a surgery department openly sharing results and communicating expectations appears to drive positive change in student experiences. (J Surg 70:149-155.
... 19,20 While perhaps used as a means to vent frustrations and cope with stress, such remarks or "gallows" humor may have unintended adverse effects on trainees and others in the environment. 21,22,23 Improving student experience of and, thus, training in professionalism may be accomplished most effectively through department-wide awareness and priorities. This is the dimension most associated with the "hidden curriculum" in which enacted social norms can supersede written objectives. ...
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To determine whether a brief student survey can differentiate among third-year clerkship student's professionalism experiences and whether sharing specific feedback with surgery faculty and residents can lead to improvements. Medical students completed a survey on professionalism at the conclusion of each third-year clerkship specialty rotation during academic years 2007-2010. Comparisons of survey items in 2007-2008 revealed significantly lower ratings for the surgery clerkship on both Excellence (F = 10.75, p < 0.001) and Altruism/Respect (F = 15.59, p < 0.001) subscales. These data were shared with clerkship directors, prompting the surgery department to discuss student perceptions of professionalism with faculty and residents. Postmeeting ratings of surgery professionalism significantly improved on both Excellence and Altruism/Respect dimensions (p < 0.005 for each). A brief survey can be used to measure student perceptions of professionalism and an intervention as simple as a surgery department openly sharing results and communicating expectations appears to drive positive change in student experiences.
... According to Lazarus (1991), goalcongruent emotions result from an appraisal process in which an event is understood to be not only relevant to personal goals, but relevant in such a way that the event is interpreted to facilitate the achievement of personal goals. In the case of certain types of humor, such as ''gallows humor,'' which results from morbid and even horrible events (Kuhlman, 1988;Maxwell, 2003;O'Connell, 1968;Thorson, 1985), it is difficult to imagine that humor or mirth is necessarily goal-congruent. Evidence suggests, however, that humor tends to result from an ambiguous stimulus, such as the narrative of a joke. ...
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... Así, trabajar con estímulos humorísticos con una estructura interna validada con respecto al contenido, por ejemplo, de denigración del sexo opuesto o de pertenencia, permitiría aportar información para un campo de análisis que ha recibido gran atención (Ford y Ferguson, 2004;Herzog, 1999;Lampert y Ervin-Tripp, 1998), en especial el de la denigración sexual, y que sin embargo no dispone de un conjunto de elementos validados, ya que generalmente éstos son seleccionados para un estudio concreto, no analizándose las propiedades psicométricas de dichos elementos. En cuanto al humor negro, dentro de las teorías del control/alivio, se insiste en que el humor puede ser de utilidad para relativizar hechos estresantes, y situaciones de la vida que de otro modo serían insoportables (Maxwell, 2003). Sin embargo, tampoco ha conseguido aislarse empíricamente este componente, utilizándose generalmente material agrupado por el criterio del investigador. ...
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Through compelling ethnography, Homelessness and Housing Advocacy: The Role of Red-Tape Warriors reveals the creative and ambitious methods that social service providers use to house their clients despite the conflictual conditions posed by the policies and institutions that govern the housing process. Combining in-depth interviews, extensive fieldwork, and the author’s own professional experience, this book considers the perspective of social service providers who work with people experiencing homelessness and chronicles the steps they take to navigate the housing process. With assertive methods of worker-client advocacy at the center of its focus, this book beckons attention to the many variables that affect professional attempts to house homeless populations. It conveys the challenges that social service providers encounter while fitting their clients into the criteria for housing eligibility, the opposition they receive, and the innovative approaches they ultimately take to optimize housing placements for their clients who are, or were formerly, experiencing homelessness. Weaving as it does between issues of poverty, social inequality, and social policy, Homelessness and Housing Advocacy will appeal to courses in social work, sociology, and public policy and fill a void for early-career professionals in housing and community services.
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The current study addressed a topic that has both theoretical and applied importance, by examining the potential existential anxiety-buffering function of humor. Participants (N = 556; 55% female; M age = 37 years) completed a measure of trait coping humor before being randomly assigned to a mortality salience condition and a humor induction condition and then completing a measure of death-thought accessibility. ANOVA revealed main effects of trait coping humor, mortality salience and humor induction on death-thought accessibility in the expected directions. Coping humor interacted with mortality salience (F(1,439) = 14.47, p < 0.01) showing that low coping humor participants were more affected by the mortality salience manipulation. Coping humor also interacted with humor induction (F(1,439) = 8.94, p < 0.01) showing that low coping humor participants were more affected by the humor induction. Findings suggests that whilst trait coping humor appears to buffer the effects of mortality salience, those low in trait coping humor may benefit the most from interventions aimed at reducing existential anxiety via humor. The apparent beneficial effect of humor induction for individuals low in coping humor holds a promise of advancing our understanding of existential threat and, ultimately, providing a basis for interventions to improve mental health.
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Off-colour humour is a category of humour which is considered by many to be in poor taste or overly vulgar. Most commonly, off-colour humour contains remarks on particular ethnic group or gender, violence, domestic abuse, acts concerned with sex, excessive swearing or profanity. Blue humour, dark humour and insult humour are types of off-colour humour. Blue and dark humour unlike insult humour are not outrightly insulting in nature but are often misclassified because of the presence of insults and harmful speech. As the primary contributions of this paper we provide an original data-set consisting of nearly 15,000 instances and a novel approach towards resolving the problem of separating dark and blue humour from offensive humour which is essential so that free-speech on the internet is not curtailed. Our experiments show that deep learning methods outperforms other n-grams based approaches like SVM’s, Naive Bayes and Logistic Regression by a large margin.
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In this article, we examine dark humour in Internet posts commenting on an online Italian newspaper report published by Il Fatto Quotidiano and devoted to the 2016 terrorist attack in Nice. The analysis focuses on the linguistic forms and socio-pragmatic functions of this dark humour in the wake of the tragedy. We argue that the creative humorous posts are meant to communicate Internet users’ ideologies conceptualised as their true beliefs about the sociopolitical situation and that they are oriented primarily towards criticising terrorism-related themes, notably: inept security enforcement, radical Islam, political and public reactions and integration policies. The humour in the Italian posts is used as a means of displaying Internet users’ wit and attracting other users’ attention.
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It was hypothesized that sensation seeking (SS) is able to predict both the structure and content of jokes and cartoons. Five hypotheses were derived and tested in two samples from Spain and Germany comprising a total of 434 participants. The basic pattern of correlations was replicated for the two samples, and for the different measures of humor appreciation (3-WD, EAHU) and sensation seeking (AISS, SSS). Experience Seeking and Novelty were predictive of low appreciation of incongruity-resolution humor and high appreciation of nonsense humor. Disinhibition and Intensity were positively correlated with funniness of sexual, black, man-disparagement and woman-disparagement humor, and negatively with their aversiveness. When the structure variance from the content categories was removed, the correlations between appreciation of humor contents and sensation seeking increased. This confirmed that structure and content have to be separated both theoretically and empirically in studies of appreciation of content categories.
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Research shows that Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) investigators cope well with the range of stressors their work exposes them to, but little is known about how they manage to cope. The current study attempts to expand knowledge and address the limitations of prior research by using a broad, open-ended anonymous interviewing strategy that differentiates between individual and organizational coping resources in the first study conducted with Australian investigators. Participants were 32 ICE investigators from all nine Australian jurisdictions. Results were organized thematically in the following headings: selection of ideal applicants, indicators of poor coping and coping strategies. The overriding conclusions and their implications for police managers are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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The study describes the construction and initial validation of a new assessment instrument named EAHU (from the Spanish Escala de Apreciacion del Humor, Humor Appreciation Scale, in English). A dimensional proposal is presented, which incorporates funniness and aversiveness of the content and structure of humor. The dimensions are incongruity-resolution, nonsense, sexual, black, man disparagement and woman disparagement humor. The construction strategy for the EAHU is outlined. The development of the EAHU involved using Spanish samples comprising more that 1500 participants altogether. The metric characteristics of the items and the internal structure of the scale appeared to be highly stable across the samples. The psychometric characteristics of the EAHU scales appeared to be satisfactory. There were sex differences only in the content scales, and a relevant role of age was observed in the EAHU scales. An interaction effect was found for sex, age and different type of humor. We conclude that the EAHU is an adequate instrument to assess the content and structure of humor.
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This study expands understanding of personal and organizational factors related to retention among public child welfare workers and supervisors from the personal experiences of highly competent, long-term employees, following the original terminology used by Ellett and Ellett (1997), we termed the committed survivors. A series of focus group interviews was completed with child welfare employees in urban, suburban, and rural settings. The results of the study are described in six sections: (a) Engagement and Involvement of Participants; (b) Reminiscence: Organizational; (c) Reminiscence: Societal; (d) Personal Characteristics; (e) Core Themes; and (f) Group Differences. Implications of the findings for local administrators, supervisors and higher-level administrators to enhance employee retention, and for social work educators are discussed.
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The motivational aspects of humor are considered from the perspective of terror management theory, testing the hypothesis that exposure to the mortality salience manipulation will result in an alteration in participants' appreciation of humorous material. Participants rated several comic strips, indicating how funny they found the jokes. The differential relevance of various forms of jokes to the process of terror management was also examined by having participants rate their appreciation of jokes that address issues of varying applicability to existential concerns. Results indicate that mortality salience results in an exacerbation of the evaluation of humorous material, and that jokes' relative centrality to terror management processes produces differing evaluative responses. Theoretical and practical implications are examined.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate potential predictors (patient variables) that would result in oncology nurses' recognition of and response to patient-initiated humor (PIH). Participants included 47 nurses of an 80-member Oncology Nursing Society chapter (57% response rate), which yielded 232 usable vignettes. Previously collected qualitative data of patient-nurse conversations were used to construct simulated vignettes using a factorial survey design. Five randomly generated vignettes containing 14 independent patient variables with different levels were used to examine nurses' identification of PIH. The unit of analysis in factorial survey is the vignette. Multiple regression and analysis of variance were used to analyze variables in each vignette. Two of 14 variables were significant: "verbal" (actual words the patient spoke) and "intonation" (inflection, pitch, or manner of speech). A 2x2 factorial analysis of variance using verbal and intonation variables revealed that oncology nurses' recognition of and response to PIH were primarily predicted by patients' verbal words. This study distinguishes PIH as a patient-initiated behavior rather than nurse-driven interventions and is a new venue for research in patient-nurse interactions. Results demonstrate the central role of patient-centered communication to inform clinical practice about patient preferences, individualized integration/participation in their care, and a knowledge base of patient-centered behaviors for outcomes of personal importance.
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The aim of this work is to carry out a dimensional proposal for the assessment of humor appreciation. First, theoretical frames on sense of humor and particularly on humor appreciation are presented. These theoretical frames are related to the methodological characteristics of studies centered to assess humor appreciation. Then, it is justified the creation of a new scale, and it is specified the aim of assessment and the target population which this new scale is focused on. Finally, a dimensional proposal it is concretized and analyzed by a group of experts. Their judgments are presented and they are analyzed considering reviewed empirical and theoretical works. The results support some theoretical validity evidences of this dimensional proposal about humor appreciation.
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