Longitudinal Associations Between Humor Styles and Psychosocial Adjustment in Adolescence
Claire Louise Fox
School of Psychology, Keele University, Keele, United Kingdom
Simon Christopher Hunter
School of Psychological Sciences and Health, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom; University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
Siân Emily Jones
Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths College, University of London, London, United Kingdom
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.