Longitudinal Associations Between Humor Styles and Psychosocial Adjustment in Adolescence

Claire Louise Fox, Simon Christopher Hunter, Siân Emily Jones


This study assessed the concurrent and prospective associations between psychosocial adjustment and four humor styles, two of which are adaptive (affiliative, self-enhancing) and two maladaptive (aggressive, self-defeating). Participants were 1,234 adolescents (52% female) aged 11-13 years, drawn from six secondary schools in England. Self-reports of psychosocial adjustment (loneliness, depressive symptomatology, and self-esteem) and humor styles were collected at two time points (fall and summer). In cross-lagged panel analyses, self-defeating humor was associated with an increase in both depressive symptoms and loneliness, and with a decrease in self-esteem. In addition, depressive symptoms predicted an increase in the use of self-defeating humor over time, indicating that these may represent a problematic spiral of thoughts and behaviors. Self-esteem was associated with an increase in the use of affiliative humor over the school year but not vice-versa. These results inform our understanding of the ways in which humor is associated with psychosocial adjustment in adolescence.


humor; psychosocial adjustment; depression; loneliness; self-esteem; adolescence

Full Text: PDF HTML


Citing articles (via Crossref)

  • Jorge Torres-Marín, Ginés Navarro-Carrillo, Hugo Carretero-Dios (2018)
    Is the use of humor associated with anger management? The assessment of individual differences in humor styles in Spain
    Personality and Individual Differences, 120, p. 193(ff.)
    doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2017.08.040
  • Sarah G. Hansen, Rebecca J. Frantz, Wendy Machalicek, Tracy J. Raulston (2017)
    Advanced Social Communication Skills for Young Children with Autism: a Systematic Review of Single-Case Intervention Studies
    Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 4(3), p. 225(ff.)
    doi: 10.1007/s40489-017-0110-8