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Does Humor Moderate the Effects of Experimentally-Induced Stress?

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Abstract

Explored whether or not humor production moderated mood and physiological responses to stress in 40 males high and 40 males low in trait humor. Half of each group was randomly assigned to a stress condition in which they generated a humorous or a serious monolog to a silent film about carelessness in the workplace. Heart rate, skin conductance level, and skin temperature were taken continuously for 15 min before, during, and 15 min after the film. Pre- and poststress mood and tension ratings were also recorded. Analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) were conducted with baseline mood and tension as covariates. Compared with production of a serious narrative, humor production led to lower negative affect, lower tension, and reduced psychophysiological reactivity for both high and low trait-humor groups. Thus, humor production may be an effective strategy for coping with stress.

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... It was hypothesized that humor creation (producing a humor narrative) would have a stronger stress moderating effect compared with the effect of external humorous stimuli (humor perception and enjoyment), although previous research provided inconsistent support for this assumption (Lefcourt & Martin, 1986;Lehman et al., 2001;Newman & Stone, 1996). For instance humor creation in a stress situation can be seen as an additional stressor, since people vary a lot in their ability and willingness to produce jokes (Lefcourt & Martin, 1986). ...
... In previous studies using stress inducing movies, either negative emotions (Newman & Stone, 1996) or a total mood disturbance created by summing positive and negative emotions were observed (Lefcourt & Martin, 1986;Cann, Holt, & Calhoun, 1999). The present study aims at establishing whether a humor perspective affects both positive and negative emotions. ...
... In previous studies demonstrating humor effects on stress reactions external humor manipulation was used (e.g. audio-taped humorous comments, Martin & Lefcourt, 1986;a humorous video, Cann, Holt, & Calhoun, 1999) or included humor expression externally (e.g., telling a humorous narrative, Newman & Stone, 1996). It may well be that a humor perspective without expression of mirth is not strong enough to affect emotional responses, although there is evidence that a humor perspective can influence success on stressful tasks in stereotyped threat situation (Cigankova, 2006). ...
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The aim of the study was to determine whether humor affects stress responses in an experimental stress situation. Sixty-nine students of psychology and education and fifty students of building engineering took part in the study. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups and watched the stress inducing movie. One of the groups was instructed to watch the film in preparation for the task of commenting upon it in a humorous manner; the second group was instructed to prepare a scientific comment, while the third received no specific instructions regarding comments. Self-reported measures of emotion were collected before and after the film. Results did not support the hypothesis, a two-way interaction among group and sample showed that engineering students showed lower stress reactions in the scientific perspective group, rather than in the humor group.
... For example, if you can laugh at your own shortcomings and mishaps, or at the exam situation of which you are actually afraid of, or at an unpleasant medical examination, because you also see a funny side of the situation, the perspective changes and you gain emotional distance from yourself and your problems. Consequently, difficult circumstances may be experienced less stressful, annoying, or threatening (Kuiper, Martin, and Olinger, 1993; Lefcourt et al., 1995; Martin, 2001; Newman and Stone, 1996; Ventis, Higbee, and Murdock, 2001). It has also been demonstrated that the emotional well-being of people with a cheerful disposition is more robust. ...
... That is, there must be more going on to throw cheerful individuals out of balance, to make them depressed or furious or nervous, than is the case with less cheerful persons. Moreover, a disposition to positive affect and a more positive appraisal of difficult situations and circumstances does not only contribute to less experience of stress and to not letting oneself get worked up so easily, but also to faster and more efficient recovery from stressful situations and events (Fredrickson and Levenson, 1998; Kallus, 2002; Newman and Stone, 1996; Ong, Bergeman, Bisconti, and Wallace, 2006; Papousek et al., 2010; Ruch and Köhler, 1999; Tugade, Fredrickson, and Barrett, 2004; Zautra, Smith, Affleck, and Tennen, 2001). In summary, trait cheerfulness does not only help to keep balance and to experience difficult circumstances less awful and burdening. ...
... The ability to make other people laugh does not indicate to which extent someone draws on humorous views oneself when exposed to adverse situations and circumstances and is able to use it as a successful coping strategy. Neither do the perception of comicality, listening to jokes, watching humorous films, etc. or laughing by itself have anything to do with favorable coping strategies and, thus, with the training of cheerfulness (Martin and Lefcourt, 1983; Newman and Stone, 1996; Nezu, Nezu, and Blisset, 1988). Those things can only induce temporary exhilaration and distraction, without longer-term consequences (see "Is exhilaration healthy", "Training of cheerfulness", and "Don't take an X for a U, Tip 6"). ...
Chapter
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Referring to the popular saying that laughter is the best medicine, many things are mixed up, for instance, laughter, exhilaration, humor, cheerful mood, and cheerfulness as a trait. In the media, putative facts are wrongly interpreted or made up and unreflectively copied again and again. Several of the misconceptions have even found their way into scientific publications. This chapter attempts to clear up some popular misunderstandings and the confusion of concepts, and explains which of those are related to health or well-being and which cannot be related to health at all. Special emphasis is placed on cheerfulness, which is a well-defined psychological construct. Added to this are some explanations and tips that may help the readers to be more critical towards study reports themselves. Finally, we discuss what may be the use of common laughter- and humor-related courses or workshops, and how the development of a more cheerful disposition could be promoted.
... For instance, if one can laugh at one's own shortcomings and mishaps, or at the exam situation of which one is actually afraid, or at an unpleasant medical examination, because one also sees a funny side of the situation, the perspective changes and one gains emotional distance from oneself and one's problems. Consequently, difficult circumstances may be experienced as less stressful, annoying, or threatening (Kuiper et al. 1993;Lefcourt et al. 1995;Martin 2001;Newman and Stone 1996;Samson and Gross 2012;Larry et al. 2001). For lasting effects towards a "merry heart" it is essential that this becomes a habitual response to situations involving stress or negative mood. ...
... Thus, when the use of humor in stressful situations has become a habitual behavior, one's toolbox of psychological resources has been expanded by a potent tool that may help to cope with future adversities and thereby to maintain or even achieve robust improvement in one's emotional well-being. A "merry heart" and a more positive appraisal of difficult circumstances as a habit not only help to keep one's balance, but also to regain balance should it be necessary, that is, to recover faster and more efficiently from stressful situations and events (Bostock et al. 2011;Newman and Stone 1996;Ong et al. 2006;Papousek and Schulter 2010;Ruch and Köhler 1999;Zautra et al. 2001). Efficient recovery is possibly even more relevant or at least as relevant to additional (especially cardiovascular) health effects than the magnitude of the initial stress response (Borghi et al. 1986;Panaite et al. 2015;Steptoe and Marmot 2005;Steptoe et al. 2006;Stewart et al. 2006; and see also McGhee 2010a; p. 16). ...
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Paul McGhee, one of the most influential pioneers in the field of humor research has been engaged for decades in exploring how humor can be used for the maintenance or improvement of well-being in the face of adversity. The present paper reviews recent empirical research corroborating several of his propositions. Undeniably, the benefits of humor can be much greater when one generates his or her own humor compared to just passively consuming humor. The active use of humor can be a potent tool to successfully cope with and appropriately recover from stressful situations, especially if it becomes a habitual response to adverse circumstances. While the ice is thin with regard to any beneficial effects of humor on physical health, it certainly may enhance the quality of life of patients. The paper concludes with the general evaluation that the documented potential of humor for the maintenance of well-being is impressive, thereby rendering exaggerations and insufficiently substantiated claims of additional effects unnecessary. Paul McGhee, one of the most influential pioneers in the field of humor research, as well as of structured humor training, has been insisting for decades that using humor can have many benefits beyond being fun, and many followed his lead. Moreover, he had always taken care to systematically collect relevant empirical, scientific evidence and to expertly evaluate it. Not all of his followers took his lead on this matter.
... Humor, in some way, helps humans cope with stress (Lefcourt & Martin, 1986;Martin & Lefcourt, 1983;Newman & Stone, 1996) and regulate emotions (Samson & Gross, 2012). Humor is ubiquitous in human behavior and evident early in development (Apte, 1985;Lefcourt, 2001;McGhee, 1979). ...
Article
Humor is a ubiquitous aspect of human behavior that is infrequently the focus of neuroscience research. To localize human brain structures associated with the experience of humor, we conducted quantitative activation likelihood estimate (ALE) meta analyses of 57 fMRI studies (n=1248) reporting enhanced regional brain activity evoked by humorous cues versus matched control cues. We performed separate ALE analyses of studies that employed picture-driven, text-based, and auditory laughter cues to evoke humor. A primary finding was that complex humor activates supramodal areas of the brain strongly associated with emotional processes, including bilateral amygdala and inferior frontal gyrus. Moreover, activation in brain regions associated with language, semantic knowledge, and theory of mind were differentially modulated by text and picture-driven humor cues, while hearing laughter enhances activation in auditory association cortex. The identification of humor-driven brain networks has the potential to expand brain-derived models of human emotion and could provide useful targets in translational research and therapy.
... Humorproduction might be an effective way to manage stress, particularly for those who do not make use of humor during stressful circumstances (Newman & Stone, 1996). Even managers can use humor to their purpose and help in stress reduction, improving creativity, leadership skills, and group unity (Romero & Cruthirds, 2006). ...
Article
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Any organization desires to have an environment of less job stress, committed employees, and impressive performance in every dimension of their organization. The study at hand is designed to find how fun is related to organizational commitment, creative performance, and job stress. The study is qualitative in nature and used a single case-study design as a research strategy. The target population is an institution of higher studies. Sixteen faculty members from the institute participated. The faculty members were interviewed to find out the relationship of fun with the aforementioned constructs. Findings indicated that people had felt more commitment towards the organization due to fun at the workplace. Fun also proved to be instrumental in enhancing creative performance and reducing job stress. The study provides incentivize directions to institutions and make employees productive cum creative performers. Along with the implementers the policymakers can take benefit from the study.
... От друга страна социалната среда -когато е враждебна или недоброжелателна -може да стане фактор за повишен стрес (Христова, 2011). Положителната когнитивна оценка се влияе и от чувството за хумор, а хуморът също се разглежда като специфичен копинг механизъм (Kuiper et al., 1993;Newman & Stone, 1996). ...
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Предмет на нашето изследване са реактивните форми на отговор в избора на копинг поведения и промените в идентичността с очертаване на възможностите за изследване на полетата на препокриване и подсилването и трансформирането им в проактивно поведение. Надяваме се допълнителното изучаване на проактивните модели във връзка с отделянето им от реактивните да може да ни позволи да изясним очертаните тук като първа стъпка тенденции. Допускаме, че целеполагането и изборът на проактивни стратегии, насочени към дългосрочното справяне със стреса, могат да се разглеждат като компонент от идентичността и отваряме тази нова посока за доразвиване и в бъдещи изследвания.
... Williams, Riels i Roper, 1990) koja pokazuju da je oporavak i sistoličkog i dijastoličkog krvnog tlaka nakon stresnog zadatka brži kod optimista nego kod pesimista te da pesimisti pri susretu sa stresnim zadatkom pokazuju veću kardiovaskularnu reaktivnost mjerenu dijastoličkim krvnim tlakom. Ovu pretpostavku indirektno potvrđuju i rezultati istraživanja koji govore da osobe koje se u stresnoj situaciji koriste humorom pokazuju smanjenu psihofiziološku reaktivnost mjerenu pulsom, električnom provodljivošću i temperaturom kože (Newman i Stone, 1996). U skladu sa Scheierom i Carverom (1987) razlike u krvnom tlaku i pulsu pokazuju da pesimisti reagiraju na stres većom kardiovaskularnom reaktivnošću nego optimisti te da je optimizam/pesimizam faktor koji je odgovoran za negativne zdravstvene posljedice hostilnosti. ...
Article
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U ovom su preglednom radu prikazani efekti optimizma i pesimizma na tjelesno zdravlje, kao i potencijalni mehanizmi kojim se ti efekti ostvaruju. U prvom je dijelu rada opisana konceptualna osnova optimizma i pesimizma, načini njihova mjerenja i osnovni problemi koji se pri tome javljaju. Nakon toga su navedeni najvažniji nalazi koji govore o efektima optimizma i pesimizma na mortalitet i druge specifične pokazatelje tjelesnog zdravlja. Detaljnije su prikazani odnosi optimizma i pesimizma s pokazateljima tjelesnoga zdravlja kod osoba zaraženih HIV-om i oboljelih od AIDS-a. Opisano je nekoliko potencijalnih mehanizama kojima optimizam i pesimizam mogu djelovati na tjelesno zdravlje: kardiovaskularna reaktivnost, imunološke promjene, zdravstvena ponašanja, doživljaj stresa i suočavanje sa stresom. Na kraju su navedeni neki važni teorijski i metodološki problemi koje nalazimo u istraživanjima odnosa optimizma i pesimizma i tjelesnog zdravlja.
... Furthermore, humour has been identified as a coping mechanism for resilience in difficult life circumstances (41,42). This is a particularly important finding as humour is considered to be a highly adaptive defence mechanism for resilience and recovery (43,44). However, positivity should not necessarily be taken at face value, as it may include an element of bravado. ...
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Introduction: Mental health problems are common in trauma survivors. In particular, depression, anxiety, acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Yet little is known about how these can be brought to the early attention of medical professionals through patients' accounts of trauma within days of being admitted to emergency care. This study aims to understand how physical trauma patients with early signs of psychological distress, stemming from the trauma, might be supported through their communications with healthcare professionals. Methods: 42 semi-structured interviews with trauma victims attending the Royal London Hospital Trauma Clinic, taken as part of a larger project, were analysed using a qualitative thematic analysis method with a critical realist approach. Results: Four key themes were highlighted: Pain and Death, Positivity, Powerlessness, and Remembering and Blame, each with relating subthemes such as Facing Death, Heroism, Waiting Time and Self-blame. Discussion: The themes present within the data suggest that there are cues shared by trauma survivors that medical professionals should attend to with regard to the future mental health of their patients. Results may further equip nurses and clinical staff to spot early signs immediately and shortly after trauma.
... The meta-message sensitivity scale (ability to recognize humor in a situation) from the SHQ (Sense of Humor Questionnaire) was the most consistent predictor of anxiety and affect as compared with the CHS, SHQ, and MSHS (Multidimensional Sense of Humor Scale), but this meta-message sensitivity scale was the only nonsignificant scale in the study by Martin and Lefcourt (1983). Following experimentally induced stress, humor production led to lower negative affect, tension, and psychophysiological reactivity compared with the production of a serious narrative-regardless of a persons' level of trait-humor (Situational Humor Response Questionnaire/SHRQ; Newman & Stone, 1996). Thus, humor production may be an effective coping strategy even for persons who do not typically use humor to cope with stress. ...
Chapter
The saying “laughter is the best medicine” is explored in this chapter on humor and health. Though a large proportion of humor and health research is conducted in general contexts, empirical findings regarding the work context are increasing. Employees’ and supervisors’ affiliative and self-enhancing humor styles are found to be related to employees’ mental health and work-related outcomes (e.g., performance, job satisfaction). Aggressive humor seems significant for outcomes in the work context, and self-defeating humor seems more relevant in general contexts of humor where it has been associated with (less) well-being, anxiety/stress, and depression. However, the role of cultural determination is largely unknown. Among the hypotheses about the mechanisms that link humor with health are the ideas that humor buffers the consequences of stressful events and facilitates social relationships by enhancing social support. Several physiological mechanisms can explain the link between humor and physical health. Given that humor and health are related, future research should analyze whether improved mental health can explain the link between humor and performance.
... Also, humour functions as a social lubricant (Martineau 1972), thus fostering closeness to other people and increasing social support. Humour is negatively related to depression (Porterfield 1987) and negative affect (Newman & Stone 1996). Furthermore, employee humour is associated with enhanced work performance, satisfaction, workgroup cohesion, health, and coping effectiveness, as well as decreased burnout, stress and work withdrawal (see the meta-analysis byMesmer-Magnus et al. 2012). ...
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Job demands, like time pressure, consume employees’ limited resources, which need to be restored through recovery in order to maintain psychological well-being and work performance. Employees in high-strain jobs need to replenish their emotional resources throughout the work day. This can take place during breaks if employees are able to psychologically detach from the work demands. Given the stress-relieving functions of humour, we hypothesised that affiliative humour during breaks would attenuate affective impairments related to time pressure and would decrease negative emotional spillover from breaks to subsequent work. We conducted moderated mediation analyses with bootstrapping based on a cross-sectional sample of 170 employees working at four retail stores. Time pressure was positively related to affective irritation, which in turn was related to more spillover of negative (and less spillover of positive) mood from breaks to work. Laughing with colleagues during breaks moderated the link between time pressure and affective irritation, such that this relation became nonsignificant when the frequency of joint laughter during breaks increased. Hence, pleasurable social break activities appear to be important for within-workday recovery. Employers should encourage their employees to take their breaks consistently and to socialise with likable colleagues, especially during periods of high work load.
... Some attempts have also been made to study sense of humor with psychophysiological parameters (Langevin and Day 1972;Newman and Stone 1996). Moreover, the psychophysiological correlates of humor appreciation have been investigated. ...
Article
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The aim of this paper was to study whether trait cheerfulness modulates changes in state cheerfulness as a result of exposing participants to affective stimuli. Two studies with a within-participant experimental design were carried out. Forty-eight (33 women) and sixty-four (45 women) undergraduate psychology students were selected as Sample 1 and Sample 2, respectively, for scoring high or low on the Trait Form of the State-Trait-Cheerfulness Inventory (STCI-T; Ruch et al. in Humor Int J Humor Res 9:303–339, 1996; Ruch et al. in Personal Individ Differ 22:477–491, 1997). Participants watched amusing, neutral, and sad film clips and reported their affective states before and after viewing them. In the second study, heart rate and skin conductance level were also recorded. Results showed that people with high trait cheerfulness reported greater changes in state cheerfulness when exposed to both amusing and sad film clips, showing larger increases and decreases in state cheerfulness, respectively, than participants with low trait cheerfulness. Effects were not mediated by social desirability. Furthermore, people with low trait cheerfulness showed a greater heart rate deceleration during the visioning of the clips compared to high trait cheerfulness participants, especially in an amusing scene with high emotional load. No modulation on trait cheerfulness was found for skin conductance level. Data with self-report and electrophysiological measures are discussed, highlighting that high trait cheerfulness people are more permeable to affective events, perhaps showing a better understanding and management of them.
... In support of this possibility, Carless and Imber (2007) found that recruiter warmth was negatively related to applicant anxiety and positively related to organizational attractiveness. Along a similar line, several studies have found that displays of positive affect can decrease anxiety levels (e.g., Gelkopf & Kreitler, 1996;Newman & Stone, 1996). Again, these relations ...
Article
The present research tested a set of “wise” interventions (Walton, 2014) designed to improve employee reactions to assessment tests. Drawing upon theories of test-taking reactions, fairness, and social exchange, we generated and pilot-tested pre-test explanations to facilitate positive reactions to the assessments. Across two experimental studies of working adults, we tested a control condition and four experimental groups: (1) an informational fairness condition, (2) a social fairness condition, (3) an uncertainty reduction condition, and (4) a combined condition. In the first study, 256 retail employees were randomly assigned to one of the pre-test explanation conditions before completing a work sample test. Findings indicated higher perceptions of fairness for test-takers in the combined explanation group. In addition, the effects of the test explanations depended upon two contextual variables: test-takers’ level of perceived organizational support and the quality of leader-member exchange relationships with their supervisors. In the second study, the mechanisms underlying pre-test explanations were examined using an online sample of 269 working adults. Consistent with our conceptual framework, findings demonstrated that pre-test explanations had direct effects on transparency, respect, and reassurance. Taken together, these findings have implications for understanding the effects of pre-test explanations in organizational settings as well as the boundary conditions for their use.
... One way to cope with high levels of stress is to employ buffering measures that can help alleviate perceived stress (DeLongis and Newth, 1998). Possible buffering measures include adaptive measures (e.g., relaxation, humor, breathing exercises, redefining the situation) and maladaptive measures (e.g., recreational drugs, alcohol, occupational absence, tobacco; Newman and Stone, 1996;Aspinwall and Taylor, 1997). This broad area of buffering measures also encompasses the ability of individuals to properly manage stress through coping and monitoring emotions, behaviors and cognitions related to goal-driven behaviors and self-control. ...
Article
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Self-control is an intricate component of decision making and effectively managing day-to-day life. Failing to maintain adequate self-control can have negative effects on many desired goals and social experiences. As such, understanding how different facets of the human experience may affect self-control is an important undertaking. One area that is yet unclear is the possible relationships between social support and self-control. Research suggests that social support can be an effective resource in reducing stress and promoting health and well-being. Research has also indicated that stress can be a limiting factor on self-control. In contrast, few studies have focused on social support as a potential resource for self-control. The goal of this mini-review article is to explore the intersections between self-control and social support and encourage integration of these two relatively independent areas of research. This review will help provide a broader understanding of self-control resources and how we can better understand the relationships between social well-being and our ability to monitor and utilize our capacity to maintain self-control.
... For example, it has been found that individuals' humor production during periods of high stress (e.g., creation of a humorous monologue versus a serious monologue during the viewing of a stressful silent film) is linked to lower levels of physiological reactivity to stressors as well as faster rates of physiological recovery following stressors. Specifically, humor production has been found to be negatively related to individuals' heart rate, skin conductance, and skin temperature during their exposure to a stressor and positively related to the time individuals take to return to baseline on all of those measures following their exposure to a stressor (Newman & Stone, 1996). Individuals' use of humor during their exposure to a stressor has also been negatively associated with neuroendocrine stress responses, such as the production of cortisol (i.e., a hormone released in response to stress; Wong, 2005). ...
... Before the proposal that humour should be differentiated into adaptive and maladaptive dimensions (Martin et al., 2003), studies examining humour as a moderator of various occupational groups yielded mixed findings. Humour was found to buffer the effects of measures of stress on psychological/physiological outcomes in correlational (Abel, 1998(Abel, , 2002Martin & Lefcourt, 1983;Wallace, Lee, & Lee, 2010) and experimental/prospective studies (Abel & Maxwell, 2002;newman & Stone, 1996;Martin & Dobbin, 1988;nezu, nezu, & Blissett, 1988). However, this proposed moderating effect has not been supported by other studies (Anderson & Arnoult, 1989;Healy & McKay, 2000;Porterfield, 1987;Safranek & Schill, 1982;Svebak, Götestam, & Jensen, 2004). ...
Article
In this study, we report on the relationship between positive humour and burnout among 379 secondary school teachers in Hong Kong, and explore whether the relationship varies according to gender. The moderating effects of both affiliative and self-enhancing humour on each burnout component were then examined. High affiliative and self-enhancing humour were found to be associated with lower emotional exhaustion and depersonalisation but higher personal accomplishment. Further, the results indicated that low levels of affiliative and self-enhancing humour were related to more depersonalisation among females than among males. The results also partially supported the stress-moderating hypothesis, as affiliative humour was found to buffer the stress–depersonalisation relationship in this sample. These findings suggest that schools can design continuing education programmes based on the use of positive humour in helping teachers to cope with burnout.
... Clinical research similarly suggests that being humorous is an effective way to deal with grief (Keltner and Bonanno 1997) and pain (Cogan et al. 1987;Weaver and Zillmann 1994;Weisenberg et al. 1995;Zillmann et al. 1993). In laboratory settings, people (1) are less likely to condemn morally disturbing behavior after listening to humorous audio clips (Strohminger et al. 2011;Valdesolo and DeSteno 2006), (2) experience more positive emotions and less negative emotions after making jokes about aversive images (Samson and Gross 2012), and (3) are less distressed if they humorously narrate an aversive video (Newman and Stone 1996). ...
Article
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Public service announcements (PSAs) are traditionally designed to elicit negative emotions that spur problem-solving behavior. However, in order to improve their reach, some social marketers are forgoing traditional strategy by creating PSAs that are humorous. Because of humor's positivity and association with non-serious situations, we hypothesized that humorous appeals can decrease problem perception and problem-solving behavior. Study 1 examined problem perceptions using matched pairs of humorous and non-humorous PSAs. Respondents judged a social issue as less important to solve after viewing the humorous version of the pair. Study 2 examined problem-solving behavior through a partnership with a non-profit organization seeking to improve young adults' sexual health knowledge. Humorous PSAs were less effective than a non-humorous version at spurring people to search for health information. The inquiry revealed a previously unaddressed tradeoff: using humor to benefit a message's reach creates a potential cost to solving a personal or societal problem.
... Exposure to humorous material facilitates coping with stressful events by reducing state anxiety and negative affect in general (e.g., Berk 1998; 2000; Cann et al. 2000; Isen et al. 1987; Newman and Stone 1996; Yovetich et al. 1990). Yovetich et al. (1990), for instance, found that participants who were exposed to a humorous audiotape experienced less anxiety in a stressful situation — waiting to receive electric shock — in comparison to participants in a non-humorous audiotape condition or a " no tape " control condition. ...
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An experiment tested the hypothesis that exposure to humorous material prior to taking a difficult math test can inhibit the amount of anxiety associated with the test, and thus enhance performance. In keeping with our hypothesis, participants performed better on a math test after first being exposed to funny cartoons versus non-humorous poems or nothing at all. Mediation analyses suggest that state anxiety mediated the relationship between exposure to humorous cartoons and math performance. Participants who were first exposed to cartoons performed better on the math test because they felt less anxiety while taking the test.
... Kuiper, Martin, & Olinger (1993) and Kuiper, McKenzie, & Belanger (1995) found that those high in humor were more likely than those low in humor to perceive potentially threatening events in a positive manner. Other studies have found humor to be a factor in reducing stress (Martin & Lefcourt, 1983;Lefcourt & Martin, 1986;Nezu, Nezu, & Blissett, 1988;Fry, 1995;Newman & Stone, 1996;Abel, 1998). Individuals who use humor to reduce stress in their relationships should find it easier to focus on another person"s thoughts and feelings and thus be more empathic. ...
Article
The Humor Styles Questionnaire and Interpersonal Reactivity Index were given to 103 (28 men, 75 women) undergraduates in a community college in the Midwestern United States. As predicted, significant positive correlations were found between affiliative humor and empathic concern (r = .23, p < .05) and between self-enhancing humor and perspective-taking empathy (r = .28, p < .01). Also, as predicted, there were significant negative correlations between self-enhancing humor and personal distress (r = -.34, p < .001), and between aggressive humor and perspective-taking empathy (r = -.40, p < .001), empathic concern (r = -.29, p < .01) and personal distress (r = -.20, p < .05). Predictions involving self-defeating humor and empathy were not supported. The differences in the correlations for affiliative humor and those of self-enhancing humor were examined in terms of the greater importance of perspective-taking and stress reduction in self-enhancing humor versus affiliative humor, which is more involved with social relationships. The implications for future research were discussed.
... Hypothesis 3. Worry would not interfere with responding to the humorous exposure (Llera & Newman, 2010), but would facilitate a positive emotional contrast (i.e., a greater decrease in negative emotion relative to other induction types) for all participants. Of note, both fear and humor have been shown to produce a shift towards higher sympathetic activity (Kreibig et al., 2007;Newman & Stone, 1996), whereas studies on sadness are equivocal, showing both increases and decreases in electrodermal markers of sympathetic activity across different studies (Kreibig et al.). ...
Article
The Contrast Avoidance model (Newman & Llera, 2011) proposes that individuals with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are hypersensitive to sharp upward shifts in negative emotion that typically accompany negative events, and use worry to maintain sustained intrapersonal negativity in an attempt to avoid these shifts. Although research shows that worry increases negative emotionality and mutes further emotional reactivity to a stressor when compared to the worry period (e.g., Llera & Newman, 2010), no study has tracked changes in negative emotionality from baseline to worry inductions followed by a range of emotional exposures. Further, no study has yet assessed participants’ subjective appraisals of prior worry on helping to cope with such exposures. The present study tested the main tenets of the Contrast Avoidance model by randomly assigning participants with GAD (n = 48) and nonanxious controls (n = 47) to experience worry, relaxation, and neutral inductions prior to sequential exposure to fearful, sad, and humorous film clips. Both physiological (nonspecific skin conductance responses [NS-SCRs]) and self-reported emotional changes were observed. Results indicated that worry boosted negative emotionality from baseline which was sustained across negative exposures, whereas low negative emotionality during relaxation and neutral inductions allowed for sharp increases in response to exposures. Interestingly, GAD participants found worry to be more helpful than other conditions in coping with exposures, whereas control participants reported the opposite pattern. Results provide preliminary support for the Contrast Avoidance model. This suggests that treatment should focus on underlying avoidance patterns before attempting to reduce worry behavior.
... Les situations négatives ainsi réévaluées s'avèrent moins difficiles à affronter en dépit du fait qu'elles puissent être une source de stress pour l'individu (sentiment de malaise, d'inconfort) (Lefcourt et al., 1995). En résumé, l'humour est supposé jouer un rôle non négligeable dans la régulation des émotions négatives (voir aussi Lehman, Burke, Martin, Sultan & Czech, 2001 ; Newman & Stone, 1996), rôle qui gagnerait à être mis à profit dans les campagnes de prévention santé qui véhiculent bien souvent tout un ensemble d'émotions négatives (i.e., peur, dégoût, culpabilité, honte).Carrera, Muñoz & Caballero, 2010 ; Lee, 2010). La troisième étude (Blanc & Brigaud, 2013) montre que la tonalité humoristique des messages de prévention, quel que soit le thème de santé évoqué (i.e., consommation excessive d'alcool, tabagisme, obésité), favorise non seulement leur mémorisation à long terme, mais également une évaluation positive de ces messages qui sont jugés comme étant les plus convaincants. ...
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Pourquoi ne pas rire de ce qui nous fait peur ? L'humour, une stratégie efficace pour communiquer en santé publique Nathalie BLANC, Emmanuelle BRIGAUD L'humour ? « Parce que notre santé le vaut bien ! » Commençons par une petite expérience de psychologie !! Dans l'encadré A 1 fourni ci-après, trois paires d'affiches trai-tant de problématiques de santé courantes que sont le taba-gisme, la consommation excessive d'alcool et l'obésité vous sont présentées. 1. L'origine des affiches présentées ici est à préciser, car il s'agit d'affiches de prévention santé diffusées à l'étranger. Toutes ces affiches, récupérées sur internet, ont été retravaillées et modifiées pour les besoins de notre étude. Précisons que l'affiche consacrée au tabagisme a été diffusée dans sa version originale en Grèce et créée en 2007 par l'agence TBWA dans le cadre de la journée sans tabac. Celle qui traite de l'obésité infantile a été réalisée en 2006 par l'agence BBDO pour une diffusion presse en faveur d'un centre de psychothérapie. Enfin, celle ciblée sur la consommation d'alcool a été conçue et diffusée en 2010 par une association, Against Alcohol, qui milite en faveur d'une consommation responsable.
... Although we did not collect physiological and mood state measures, we believe that the use of a humorous tone may be an effective stress reducer in health communication that permits avoiding the occurrence of defensive mechanisms. Lehman, Burke, Martin, Sultan, and Czech (2001; see also Newman & Stone, 1996) already demonstrated that humor can help individuals to cope with stressful events. Indeed, they noted that when individuals produced humor while they were exposed to experimentally induced stress stimuli, they were less tense and had lower negative affect. ...
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[In Press] This study examined whether individuals experiencing significant depressive symptoms would differ from non- depressed controls in their interpretation of internet memes related to depression, whilst incorporating the mediating role of emotion regulation difficulty. Forty-three individuals presenting clinically significant depressive symptoms (indicating ≥15 on the PHQ-9) and 56 non-depressed controls (indicating ≤4) rated the emotional valance, humour, relatability, shareability, and mood improving potential of 32 depressive and control (depicting general neutral or positive social commentaries) internet memes. Measures of depression and emotion dysregulation were also completed. The perception of humour, relatability, shareability and mood improving potential of depressive, but not control, memes were all greater amongst individuals with symptoms of depression relative to controls. However, these differences were mediated by deficits in the ability to deploy adaptive emotion regulation strategies. Despite their negative orientation, internet memes related to depression may be beneficial for individuals experiencing consistent symptoms. Specially, by potentially facilitating: a humorous take on a negative experience and situation; the perception of peer- support through affiliation with others experiencing similar symptoms; and adaptive emotion regulation strategies amongst those with deficits in the ability to deploy such strategies.
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Scores of scientific studies from various disciplines support the widespread notion that humor and laughter benefit psychological and physiological health. Some of those studies are reviewed here in the context of immune system functions, pain and stress management, cognition, and interpersonal social networks. A final section considers ways in which people in later stages of life might benefit from applied humor and laughter interventions. But there are cautions to consider in the application of the many findings from empirical research on humor and laughter.
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Describe the theoretical basis of the WCI [Ways of Coping Inventory], how it was developed, and how it is typically used / raise a number of conceptual issues concerning the assumptions that the WCI makes about coping and discuss what effect these assumptions might have on the field of coping research / although the comments will be focused on the WCI, they apply to all current self-report coping assessments.
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Describes the development of the Situational Humor Response Questionnaire (SHRQ) and reports a reliability study with 497 undergraduates and 3 validity studies with 125 undergraduates. Reliability coefficients were in the 70's, and significant correlations were found between the SHRQ and a number of criteria, including mirth responses during an interview, peer ratings of Ss' sense of humor, a measure of positive mood, and rated wittiness of impromptu comedy monologs. The SHRQ is included. (34 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Investigated relationships between sense of humor and cognitive appraisals (CAs) and reappraisals of a potentially stressful event. CAs by 44 female university students for an academic examination were obtained at several points in time. Ss with high scores on the Coping Humor scale by R. A. Martin and H. M. Lefcourt (see record 1984-15058-001) appraised the exam as more of a positive challenge. In their reappraisals, high humor Ss' ratings of importance and positive challenge were positively related to performance on the exam, whereas for low humor Ss this relationship was negative. High humor Ss adjusted their expectations on the next exam on the basis of performance on the previous exam, whereas low humor Ss did not. Sense of humor was negatively related to both perceived stress and dysfunctional standards for self-evaluation. Results support the proposal that a sense of humor may facilitate coping and adjustment. (French abstract) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Waterloo, 1984. Includes bibliography.
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Self-report, situation-specific assessments of coping, such as the Ways of Coping Scale (WOC), have been used frequently in recent years. Several potential issues in the development and use of these questionnaires have been identified, including the applicability of coping items to different kinds of stressful events, the definition of the period for which Ss report coping efforts, and the meaning of the "extent" response key that is used for reporting coping items. In this study, 91 college students completed the WOC and were then interviewed about their responses; interview questions were focused on the 3 issues stated above. The hypothesized concerns about the WOC were supported. Many of the coping items were not applicable to certain kinds of stressful events. Also, how the coping report period was defined varied across Ss and the way in which the extent response key was interpreted differed across both Ss and WOC items.
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This study was designed to investigate whether sense of humor moderates immunosuppressive effects of stress. At two time periods one and one-half months apart, forty subjects completed the Daily Hassles Scale and provided saliva samples for determining secretory immunoglobulin A (S-IgA) levels. Four scales were used to assess different aspects of the sense of humor. A negative correlation was obtained between frequency of hassles at time 1 and S-IgA levels at time 2 (r = -.32, p less than .05), suggesting an immunosuppressive effect of hassles. In support of our hypothesis, hierarchical multiple regression analyses revealed significant moderating effects of three of the four humor measures on this relationship between hassles and S-IgA. Subjects with low scores on the humor scales revealed a stronger negative relationship between hassles and S-IgA than did those with high humor scores. These results are discussed in terms of other research examining psychological influences on immune function.
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Previous research has indicated that one's sense of humor serves as a moderator of the deleterious effects of negative stressful life events. However, because this research has been only cross-sectional in nature, such conclusions remain tentative. The purpose of this study was to provide for a more rigorous test of the humor as a stress-buffer hypothesis by using a prospective design that also attempted to control for the variance attributable to prior level of distress. Additionally, two measures of humor were included to increase the construct validity of the findings. Results from a series of regression analyses indicated that humor served as a moderator of stress for depressive, but not anxiety, symptomatology, regardless of the measure of humor that was used in the analyses. Implications of these findings for future research are noted.
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A major error in professional health care training and practice, one founded on a misconceived and primitive mind-body dualism, is undergoing serious reexamination today. This chapter seeks to contribute to these reflections by arguing for a broadened conception of the role of the clinical psychologist. This chapter not only fosters the view that clinical psychology should move beyond its conventional—albeit well-founded—attention to the “mentally” disordered but also demonstrates specifically that there is both a need and a justification for psychologists to assume an active role in the assessment and management of the “physically” disordered.
Chapter
This chapter reviews the literature on life changes, particularly as they relate to health, disease, and recovery from illness. One of the areas of greatest current activity concerns the quantitative assessment of these changes, which are often referred to as stressful life events. We shall review this topic and provide a theoretical perspective for future research.
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Twenty-year coronary heart disease (CHD) incidence is analyzed for 279 men, CHD-free at the ages of 47 through 57 years and characterized by three examinations before 20 annual follow-up examinations. Sixty men developed CHD, 42 dying or suffering infarction. Among 20 entry characteristics, three had major predictive power, especially for CHD death or infarction: cold pressor test, a high level of serum cholesterol, and systolic blood pressure. Smoking and relative weight seemed unimportant. Major CHD incidence was proportional to cholesterol to the 3.4 power. Five-variable multiple logistic analysis permitted placement of men into deciles of estimated risk differing more than tenfold in CHD incidence. The combination of only cholesterol and systolic pressure was nearly as good. The multiple logistic coefficients applied to five-year data on 1,287 men among whom 182 CHD developed in 182 yielded satisfactory agreement between observed and predicted distributions of CHD cases in classes of estimated risk.
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A number of investigators have reported on the beneficial asuects of humor in stress management. A sense of humor can serve as a moderator to prevent detrimental effects of stress in later life. In order to encourage a sense of humor among elderly persons, an imagery procedure has been developed to promote humor production, The process of humor production is stimulated by incorporating the factors of absurdity, incongruity and exaggeration into imagery.
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The numerous crisis situations associated with life cycle transitions present the mental health professional with numerous intervention opportunities. Since a good sense of humor can assist in the mediation of stress, a crisis intervention technique designed to enrich a person's appreciation of humor during and after life cycle transitions has therapeutic merit. Toward this goal, the author has designed an imagery technique which permits the enhancement of a person's sense of humor. Guiding clients towards the generation of humor at the imagery level has been found to be therapeutically beneficial. Methods of intervention utilizing the factors of absurdity, incongruity and exaggeration are discussed in promoting an adaptive sense of humor.
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In recent studies of the structure of affect, positive and negative affect have consistently emerged as two dominant and relatively independent dimensions. A number of mood scales have been created to measure these factors; however, many existing measures are inadequate, showing low reliability or poor convergent or discriminant validity. To fill the need for reliable and valid Positive Affect and Negative Affect scales that are also brief and easy to administer, we developed two 10-item mood scales that comprise the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). The scales are shown to be highly internally consistent, largely uncorrelated, and stable at appropriate levels over a 2-month time period. Normative data and factorial and external evidence of convergent and discriminant validity for the scales are also presented. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)
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Discusses potential benefits of humor when it is integrated with guided imagery to alleviate stress. Indroduces the Humorous Imagery Situation Technique, a therapeutic method of systematically using humor for stress management which produces a method for the client to use humor to reflect on major problem areas. Includes a case example which illustrates the basic procedure. (NB)
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There is considerable evidence from naturalistic studies that psychosocial stressors affect human immune function. To achieve control over factors that could bias naturalistic studies, laboratory stressors developed by cardiovascular researchers were tested to determine if they affected immune function. Thirty volunteer students were exposed to 20 minutes of mental tasks. Psychophysiological indices (heart rate, blood pressure, skin conductance) and subjective responses were monitored prior to, during, and 1-hour after the tasks, blood, samples for immunological analyses were also drawn at these times. Thirteen subjects who were not exposed to the tasks served as controls. Subjects exposed to the tasks showed increased levels of subjective distress and increased psychophysiologic responses (except diastolic blood pressure) during the tasks. Relative to controls, stressed subjects had reduced lymphocyte proliferative responses to classic T cell mitogens both immediately after and 1-hour after the tasks were found in whole blood cultures, although responses of isolated lymphocytes were not significantly affected. There were only marginal differences in whole blood mitogen responses for stressed subjects with low versus high autonomic reactions to the stressor. These results support an emerging view that the immune system is sensitive to brief stressors and that laboratory models may be useful for exploring stress-induced changes in immune function.
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Evaluated cardiovascular and plasma catecholamine responses to an audiovisual conflict task in 56 males (aged 25–59 yrs), classified as Type A (coronary prone) or Type B (noncoronary prone), and high or low reactors to a stressful subtraction task administered 2 mo earlier. A high/low-reactor classification showed positive associations with systolic blood pressure (BP), diastolic BP, heart rate, and plasma catecholamines. Related personality characteristics (e.g., feelings of anger, evaluative anxiety) were positively associated with being a high reactor, whereas the outward display of hostile impulses showed an inverse relationship. Findings are discussed in terms of a distinction between anger and hostility and the role of evaluation apprehension in Type A behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
A review of clinical, experimental, and field research on stress, together with the author's own research, provides the background for a theory that emphasizes the importance of cognitive processes. Harvard Book List (edited) 1971 #370 (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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"This paper undertakes 2 somewhat limited tasks: (a) an analysis of some of the key problems in experimentation, and (b) the presentation of a brief account of some research from the author's own laboratory which was designed to throw light on some of the psychological mechanisms underlying stress reactions." Original research is summarized in 4 figures presenting the effect on skinconductance pattern of various conditions. The theoretical and methodological problems inherent in the field of psychological stress require attention to psychological processes (as well as the physiological) and the empirical conditions which identify these processes. "In the experimental laboratory what we need are more carefully thought out analogues of these psychological processes." (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
STUDIED THE EFFECT OF THE TIME INTERVAL BETWEEN A THREAT AND ITS EXECUTION UPON THE INTENSITY OF FEAR. USING 3 GROUPS OF 20 SS EACH, IT WAS FOUND THAT THE LONGER THAT INTERVAL IS, THE HIGHER THE HEART RATE IN THE LAST MIN. OF ANTICIPATION. IT WAS SUGGESTED THAT THIS PHENOMENON BE NAMED "INCUBATION OF THREAT." IT WAS DEMONSTRATED THAT INCUBATION OF THREAT MAY REINFORCE THE TENDENCY TO PREFER SHORT ANTICIPATIONS. IT WAS ALSO FOUND THAT FALSE ALARM REDUCES THE FEAR REACTION TO AN IMMEDIATE 2ND THREAT. THE POSSIBLE THEORETICAL BASIS OF THESE FINDINGS IS DISCUSSED. (29 REF.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Presents detailed descriptions of the general clinical features and developmental dynamics of explosive, antisocial, and passive-aggressive personalities based on the American Psychiatric Association's 1968 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-II) and discusses some differences between these 3 types of disorders. Case examples of each type and recommendations for treatment are presented. (48 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
A total of 599 separate instances of overt "mirth" responses accompanied by laughter were recorded from 9 25–55 yr old males who were exposed to 9 30-min sessions of prerecorded tapes of professional and semiprofessional comedians. Stimulus for 2 other sessions was a Laurel and Hardy film comedy. Analysis of respiration wave form indicated that mirthful laughter consists of varying combinations of expiration, inspiration, and interval pause. These basic elements are subject to the modifying influences of 7 parameters—duration, magnitude, predominance of component elements, frequency, sequence, rhythmicity, and expiration/inspiration excursion level. The interaction of these factors generates an almost infinite number of individually different laughs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Although little systematic empirical research conclusively supports the contention that humor in, as, or with psychotherapy is beneficial, the past 15 years or so have witnessed a burgeoning advocacy of its use. Most of the literature advocating the use of humor as well as some of the research studies are briefly reviewed in this article. The latter are found wanting in terms of design, methodology, and definitive results. Employing a cognitive-behavioral or social learning model, we suggest a functional analysis to explore the complex nature of the interlacing components of the humor concept and experience as well as to expose the complicated mechanisms by which mirth may effect the significant ingredients of the psychotherapeutic process to produce positive change. Finally, specific humor strategies and techniques and their effects are briefly discussed. We conclude that deliberately bringing together humor and psychotherapy is not without its risks. As in the case of copulating porcupines, such a union, although potentially productive, should be consummated very carefully. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
A review of the literature on the relation of life events, stress, and illness shows the clear recognition that illness onset is the outcome of multiple characteristics of the individual interacting with interdependent factors in the individual's social context, in the presence of a disease agent. The conceptual model is comprehensive, multicausal, and interactive; empirical designs should consider this complexity. Crucial in the process of measuring relationships between change in life events and illness onset are the psychometric properties of the measures used and the method of data collection that is employed. The importance of (a) thorough conceptualization and sampling, (b) multidimensional scaling of item samples to identify common dimensions of life events, (c) determination of the true variance and stability of the measures over a variety of populations is stressed. In retrospective studies, important sources of error in measuring life events are selective memory, denial of events, and overreporting to justify an illness. In prospective studies, the subjective evaluation of the significance of a life event to a respondent has been neglected. It is concluded that improvement in data analytic procedures remains a major challenge for life events investigators. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Thesis (Ph. D. in Psychology)--University of California, Jan. 1964. Bibliography: l. 125-128.
Article
Temporal and cross-situational consistency in causal attributions and coping were examined in reference to two ongoing stressors over a period of 4 weeks. Patterns of coping were characterized by moderate consistency in response to the same stressor over time and low consistency across two different types of stress (academic and interpersonal stressors). Causal attributions were moderately to highly consistent in response to the same stressor over time, but levels of consistency in attributions were low across the two stressors. There were individual differences in the degree of coping consistency, with some individuals displaying more stability in coping than others. Higher levels of consistency in coping were associated with higher levels of negative affect; negative emotions predicted significant portions of the variance in subsequent consistency in coping, but consistency in coping did not predict later emotions.
Article
The belief is widely held that humor is related to recovery from, and perhaps an increased resistance to, coronary and other stress-related diseases. Such generalizations do not typically distinguish between benign and hostile humor. In the present research, the relationship between a measure of proneness to coronary heart disease (CHD) and appreciation of hostile and nonhostile humor is examined. In two studies, one with college students and one with patients suffering from CHD, the relationship between humor preferences and the coronary-prone (Type A) behavior pattern was examined. Each subject was given the Jenkins Activity Survey as a measure of the coronary-prone personality type, and aggressive and nonaggressive jokes to rate for funniness. Hostile humor was preferred to nonhostile humor by all groups, but among those suffering from CHD, those who could be classified as “Type B’s” preferred nonhostile humor. The results indicate that those less prone to CHD appreciate both hostile and nonhostile humor, while Type A’s seem to enjoy hostile humor only.
Article
The present experiment attempted to reconcile previous results in the area of humor and aggression. It was hypothesized that humor serves two functions, arousal and attentional shift, with regard to its influence on the relation of prior anger arousal and aggression. As a test of this assumption, subjects in the present experiment were subjected to three forms of humor (high arousing, low arousing, nonhumor) after being angered or treated in a neutral manner by a confederate. In an analysis on subsequent aggression toward the confederate, it was found that female subjects reduced their aggression after exposure to low arousing humor while maintaining aggression at a high level for high arousing stimuli. Male subjects were not influenced by humor exposure. Possible reasons for this sex difference are examined in light of the arousal and attentional shift properties of humorous stimuli.
Article
Traditional belief holds that a sense of humor protects us from the deleterious psychological and physical effects of life stress. In the only research supporting that belief, R. A. Martin and H. M. Lefcourt (1983, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45, 1313–1324) found that sense of humor moderated the relation between negative life events and mood. The present study attempted to replicate their findings with a more adequate sample, and to determine whether humor also moderates the impact of life stress on physical illness. Ninety-five male and 125 female undergraduates completed questionnaires measuring sense of humor, negative life events, and depressive and physical symptomatology. Contrary to expectations, hierarchical multiple regression analyses revealed no evidence that humor moderates the impact of negative life events on either depression or physical illness. Instead, the results suggested that sense of humor directly mitigates depression only, independent of the effects of life stress. It is concluded that the ability of sense of humor to buffer life stress has yet to be demonstrated with confidence.
Article
Forty-eight undergraduate males participated in an experiment designed to investigate the hypothesis that prior exposure to sexual humor would reduce the level of aggression directed by angry individuals against the person who had previously provoked them. In order to examine this suggestion, subjects were first angered or not angered by a male confederate; next, exposed to either neutral, nonhumorous pictures or to one of two types of sexual humor (nonexploitative, exploitative); and finally, provided with an opportunity to aggress against this individual by means of electric shock. Results indicated that exposure to exploitative sexual humor, but not exposure to nonexploitative sexual humor, significantly reduced the strength of subjects' later attacks against the victim. These findings are discussed in terms of the results of a follow-up study suggesting that individuals are more likely to think or fantasize about exploitative than nonexploitative sexual humor following the removal of such stimuli.
Article
This paper is an analytical review of studies comparing stress reactions in threatening situations during which the person can or cannot take action. The studies reviewed were conducted mainly in real-life situations and involved diverse forms of coping activities under various conditions of danger and distress. To achieve a better understanding of the effect of activity on stress reactions, several distinctions are made: between various types of stress reactions; between various indices and measurements of stress reactions; between activity which is directly related to the source of threat and activity which is not; and between various personality dimensions. The adaptive potential of activity in stressful situations is discussed in terms of: the sense of mastery and control provided by activity; activity as a means of attention diversion; and activity as a means of discharging energy generated by mobilization. It is suggested that taking action under stressful conditions, as opposed to remaining passive, is a powerful coping tool.
Article
Four sets of biographical data were analyzed in order to test the hypothesis that the ability to generate humor is associated with longevity. Although steps were taken to ensure that tests had high levels of statistical power, analyses provided very little support for the idea that individuals with a well-developed sense of humor live longer than serious writers and other entertainers. In addition, a subsidiary analysis revealed that those in the business of entertaining others died at an earlier age than those in other lines of endeavor. These findings suggest that researchers should turn their attention from trait humor to the effects of humorous material.
Article
A significant correlation of -0.34 was found between scores on the Situational Humor Response Questionnaire and a measure of perceived physical health for 51 college students. Mean scores on the questionnaire were similar to those of the original standardization population.
Article
In this study several factors considered to be relevant in mediating stress arousal were experimentally manipulated. Ss selected for the coping styles anxiety denying, low anxiety, and high anxiety were confronted with both low- and high-arousal-inducing situations, using 2 different types of stressors (cognitive vs. emotional) in each case. Arousal reactions were measured in 3 response modalities: verbal report of subjective experience; nonverbal, nonvocal behavior; and physiological reactions. The results reveal complex interactions between type and degree of stress, coping style, and gender of Ss, confirming findings on vocal parameters of stress. These complex interactions are discussed with respect to the possibility that Ss' evaluation of situation characteristics may be influenced by coping styles and gender, resulting in differential reaction patterns.
Article
Previous work has indicated that humor enhances immunity, but the immunological effects of overt crying have not been studied. Thirty-nine women viewed sad and humorous videotapes and either inhibited or expressed overt expressions of laughter and weeping; these were observed and timed. Moods and immunity (S-IgA) were repeatedly measured. The humorous stimulus resulted in improved immunity, regardless of the overt laughter expressed; overt crying was immunosuppressive, whereas the inhibition of weeping in the context of the same sad stimulus was not. Moods were more negative following the sad stimulus and in the expression condition. The results with respect to humor are consistent with previous research; the immunosuppressive effect of overt crying is discussed in the context of various types of crying that may have different effects.
Article
Coping appears to function in the relationship between stressful life-events and health. Factors that may influence an individual's use of a particular coping strategy, however, are not well understood. Coping consistency within individuals and across situations was examined in a longitudinal study of 74 independently living elderly persons, as were the effects of the type of event experienced, appraisal of its degree of threat, and demographic variables on coping behaviour. Correlational analyses indicated that coping responses were more a function of event type than of an individual's consistent style. A number of distinct life-events were associated with particular types of coping responses. The degree of threat, one's expectation of the changeability of an event, and one's appraisal of possible courses of action were also correlated with specific coping behaviours. Age was negatively correlated with problem-focused coping and total number of coping responses. This study suggests that the type of stressful event an individual experiences may be a more important general determinant of one's coping response than is one's overriding propensity to cope in a particular way.
Article
In testing the hypothesis that exposure to humor may be used to relieve the symptoms of depression, 38 female undergraduates were shown depressive slides of the Velten (1968) mood statements and then assigned to one of three groups. One group heard a humorous audiotape, the second group heard a nonhumorous tape, while a third waiting control heard no tape. Heart rate and zygomatic (smile) and corrugator (frown) muscle tensions were recoreded during slide and tape presentations. The Multiple Affect Adjective Check List, administered before and after slide and tape presentations, showed depression induction was successful. Only the humor group decreased depression scores to the preexperimental baseline, although both the humor and waiting groups showed significant decreases in depression scores after the treatment. Zygomatic muscle tension was greater during the humor treatment than other treatments. Heart rate decreased across depression induction for the waiting control only, but increased during the humor and nonhumor treatments. Seven women, who were not included in the above analysis because their initial MAACL depression scores were at least one SD above the mean, showed a paradoxical decrease in depression scores after the depression induction. Implications of the results as they relate to possible interventions for depression are discussed.
Article
Positive emotional activities have been suggested as modifiers of neuroendocrine hormones involved in the classical stress response. To detect changes in these components during a mirthful laughter experience, the authors studied 10 healthy male subjects. Five experimental subjects viewed a 60 minute humor video and five control subjects did not. Serial blood samples were measured for corticotropin (ACTH), cortisol, beta-endorphin, 3,4-dihydrophenylacetic acid (dopac)--the major serum neuronal catabolite of dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, growth hormone, and prolactin. Repeated measures analysis of variance showed that cortisol and dopac in the experimental group decreased more rapidly from baseline than the control group (p = 0.011, p = 0.025, respectively). Epinephrine levels in the experimental group were significantly lower than the control at all time points (p = 0.017). Growth hormone levels in the experimental group significantly increased during baseline (p = 0.027) and then decreased with laughter intervention (p less than 0.0005), whereas, the controls did not change over time (p = 0.787). ACTH, beta-endorphin, prolactin, and norepinephrine levels did not significantly increase. The mirthful laughter experience appears to reduce serum levels of cortisol, dopac, epinephrine, and growth hormone. These biochemical changes have implications for the reversal of the neuroendocrine and classical stress hormone response.
Article
We investigated whether the use of humor as a coping device and psychological hardiness were related to IgA levels in the saliva and breast milk of mothers, and if these factors were related to the incidence of upper respiratory infection (URI) in the mothers and their newborns. Nineteen mothers volunteered to participate and met the qualifications; however, only 17 completed all phases of the study. Prior to the birth of their child, mothers filled out demographic questionnaires and the psychological inventories. Saliva and milk samples were taken within 1 week after delivery, and follow-up questionnaires were mailed out 2 months after delivery. Coping humor was inversely related to URI incidence in both the mothers and the infants. Hardiness was directly related to coping humor and inversely related to URI incidence in the infants. Older mothers had higher coping humor and hardiness scores and fewer URIs in themselves and their infants.
Article
The oft-quoted aphorism that "laughter is the best medicine" is examined. Specifically, three big drops in the shower of claims regarding the benefits of humor in treating physical and mental disorders are evaluated. First, studies of the effects of mirth and laughter on the physiology of the body reveal both good and bad news. The meager evidence of the salutary effects of positive emotions on the cardiovascular, respiratory, immune and neuroendocrine systems, though apparently supportable on more or less scientific, rational and subjective grounds, needs much better verification from more extensive, replicable, and empirical research. Second, despite numerous claims, in the context of behavioral or psychosomatic medicine, that a joyful, optimistic, or humorous attitude can render a salubrious effect, almost to the extent of preventing illness and curing physical disease, the jury is still out and issuing dire warnings regarding too ready acceptance of this largely anecdotal evidence. Much careful "clinical trial" research needs to be mounted to determine the conditions under which humor works best, if at all. The type of patient, the kind of humor, the type and severity of illness, the psychosocial contexts-all of these factors should be considered. Third, the infusion of humor into psychotherapy is great news for some therapists and awful news for others. A number of more balanced approaches point up the probability that when mirth is incorporated into therapy judiciously, appropriately, and meaningfully it can be of value.
Article
In recent studies of the structure of affect, positive and negative affect have consistently emerged as two dominant and relatively independent dimensions. A number of mood scales have been created to measure these factors; however, many existing measures are inadequate, showing low reliability or poor convergent or discriminant validity. To fill the need for reliable and valid Positive Affect and Negative Affect scales that are also brief and easy to administer, we developed two 10-item mood scales that comprise the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). The scales are shown to be highly internally consistent, largely uncorrelated, and stable at appropriate levels over a 2-month time period. Normative data and factorial and external evidence of convergent and discriminant validity for the scales are also presented.
Article
The moderating effects of emotional weeping and humor on the impact of negative life events were examined. Subjects who reported weeping frequently showed more mood disturbance at high levels of negative events and less to low levels of negative events than those who reported less frequent weeping. Humor-coping buffered stress in all groups except for males who reported frequent crying.