Monday, October 04, 2010

Humor Creation Ability and Mental Health: Are Funny People more Psychologically Healthy?

This is a cool article from the August issue of Europe's Journal of Psychology, which is devoted to the special topic of humor. In folk psychology, funny people are thought to be more psychologically healthy. However, it appears that mental health is less about the ability to make humor of our lives than it is to simply find humor in daily life.

Humor Creation Ability and Mental Health: Are Funny People more Psychologically Healthy?

Kim R. Edwards
University of Western Ontario

Rod A. Martin
University of Western Ontario

Sense of humor is a multidimensional personality construct. Some components may be more relevant to psychological health than others. While there has been a considerable amount of research on humor styles, humor creation ability (HCA) has remained relatively understudied in relation to well-being. This study employed two methods of assessing HCA (a cartoon captioning task and a task involving the generation of humorous responses to vignettes depicting everyday frustrating situations) to study associations with mental health variables. In addition to these humor creation performance tasks, 215 participants completed measures of four humor styles (Humor Styles Questionnaire) and psychological well-being (self-esteem, satisfaction with life, optimism, depression, anxiety, and stress). No significant correlations were found between either of the HCA tasks and any of the well-being measures. In contrast, humor styles were significantly correlated with well-being variables in ways consistent with previous research. In addition, the frustrating situation humor creation task was positively correlated with all four humor styles. These findings add support to the view that the ability to create humor is less relevant to mental health than are the ways people use humor in their daily lives. Implications for humor-based interventions are discussed.

Read the article: Download file (free pdf - how cool is that?).

Here are some brief passages from the discussion:
The results indicated that neither the CCT (Cartoon Caption Task) nor the FSHCT (Frustrating Situation Humor Creation Task) was significantly correlated with any of the psychological health measures, suggesting that the ability to create humor (either in response to frustrating situations or in cartoon captions) is not associated with well-being. A possible explanation for this finding is that individuals who have the ability to create humor do not necessarily use this ability in their daily lives in health-enhancing ways (such as in times of stress, interpersonal tension, etc.). It is also possible that humor creation ability may be correlated with other well-being variables that were not explored in the present study.

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Replicating the results of previous research (Martin et al., 2003), our findings pertaining to the HSQ (Humor Styles Questionnaire) indicate that the hypothesized beneficial humor styles (and particularly self-enhancing humor) correlate negatively with depression, anxiety, and stress, and positively with self-esteem, optimism, and satisfaction with life. On the other hand, the potentially detrimental humor styles correlated positively with anxiety and depression and negatively with self-esteem and optimism. These findings support the importance of distinguishing between positive and negative uses of humor in mental health. Psychological health involves not only the presence of adaptive uses of humor, but also the absence of negative or unhealthy styles (Martin et al).

1 comment:

Adult Toys said...

I am also agreeing with you this point that Funny People more Psychologically Healthy. And the cartoon picture which is made over here is also very nice.