Humor Styles, Positive Personality and Health


  • Arnie Cann
  • Kelly Stilwell
  • Kanako Taku


The research examines the relationship of sense of humor differences and positive personality qualities with perceptions of stress and well-being. Positive and negative styles of self-directed humor were assumed to have opposing relationships with perceived stress, but the relationships were predicted to be mediated through positive personality qualities. University students provided data at two points in time separated by 8 weeks. Data from time 1 was used to verify the mediation of the relationship of sense of humor with perceived stress through the positive personality qualities. A more extensive theoretical model, using longitudinal data, was tested using the sense of humor measures from time 1 and positive personality qualities at time 2 to predict perceived stress and well-being at time 2. The results from the two analyses support the proposed mediator model in which the potential health benefits of a positive humor style and the potential damage to health associated with a negative humor style are mediated through the positive personality qualities. Thus, it would appear that good humor uses can support maintaining a stable positive personality style, which has positive associations with both psychological and physical well-being.