Humour Use Between Spouses and Positive and Negative Interpersonal Behaviours During Conflict

Lorne Campbell, Sarah Moroz


The present research investigated the relation between the use of positive, negative and instrumental humour in the context of romantic relationships and relational well-being as assessed by positive and negative patterns of conflict resolution behaviour. A sample of 116 heterosexual married couples completed scales of relational humour use as well as conflict resolution behaviour. Behaviour of couples while attempting to resolve a relationship based conflict was also coded by independent raters. Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM) analyses showed patterns of actor and partner effects for each type of humour use. Specifically, positive humour use of both partners predicted more positive conflict resolution, whereas negative humour use of both partners predicted less positive conflict resolution. Additionally, instrumental humour use of both partners seemed to predict greater apathy during conflict resolution. Implications for considering couple humor use, assessed for both partners of the dyad, for understanding relational well-being are discussed.


relational humour; conflict resolution; Actor-Partner Interdependence Model; relationship maintenance; marriage

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