Humor Creation Ability and Mental Health: Are Funny People more Psychologically Healthy?


  • Kim R. Edwards
  • Rod A. Martin


Sense of humor is a multidimensional personality construct. Some components may be more relevant to psychological health than others. While there has been a considerable amount of research on humor styles, humor creation ability (HCA) has remained relatively understudied in relation to well-being. This study employed two methods of assessing HCA (a cartoon captioning task and a task involving the generation of humorous responses to vignettes depicting everyday frustrating situations) to study associations with mental health variables. In addition to these humor creation performance tasks, 215 participants completed measures of four humor styles (Humor Styles Questionnaire) and psychological well-being (self-esteem, satisfaction with life, optimism, depression, anxiety, and stress). No significant correlations were found between either of the HCA tasks and any of the well-being measures. In contrast, humor styles were significantly correlated with well-being variables in ways consistent with previous research. In addition, the frustrating situation humor creation task was positively correlated with all four humor styles. These findings add support to the view that the ability to create humor is less relevant to mental health than are the ways people use humor in their daily lives. Implications for humor-based interventions are discussed.