Does Humor Benefit Health In Retirement? Exploring Humor as a Moderator


  • Gillian P. Freeman
  • W. Larry Ventis


This research assessed the extent to which humor moderates the relationship between retirement stress, including hassles, and health. Two hundred sixty-five retirees over the age of 55 years responded to an on-line survey, completing the RAND 36-Item Health Survey and the Humor Styles Questionnaire. Stress was measured using the Self Perceived Stress in Retirement Scale and The Hassles Scale. The stress moderating effect of humor was examined via regression analyses. Contrary to expectation, and the assumed nature of humor styles, results suggest that the adaptiveness of humor styles depends on the level of stress or hassles one perceives, as well as gender. This is a first indication that whether specific humor styles are adaptive or maladaptive may depend on specific circumstances or person variables.