The Dark Side of Humor: DSM-5 Pathological Personality Traits and Humor Styles

Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Gillian A. McCabe, Jennifer K. Vrabel


Basic personality traits (e.g., extraversion) have been found to be associated with the humor styles that individuals employ. In the present study, we were interested in determining whether pathological personality traits were also associated with humor styles. We examined the associations between the pathological personality traits captured by the Personality Inventory for the DSM-5 (PID-5) and humor styles in a sample of college students (N = 594). Negative affectivity and detachment were negatively associated with the affiliative and self-enhancing humor styles. Antagonism was positively associated with the aggressive humor style but negatively associated with the affiliative humor style. Disinhibition was positively associated with the aggressive humor style, whereas disinhibition and psychoticism were both positively associated with the self-defeating humor style. Discussion focuses on the implications of these findings and how they can expand our understanding of the connections between the darker aspects of personality and humor.


humor; personality; PID-5; pathology; dark

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