Integrating Humor and Positive Psychology Approaches to Psychological Well-Being


  • Nadia Brittany Maiolino
  • Nicholas A. Kuiper


In this study we investigated how individual differences and personality constructs taken from the positive psychology and humor domains of psychology may play an important role in psychological well-being. Participants completed measures assessing trait gratitude, savoring, and humor styles; along with several positive and negative indicators of psychological well-being (e.g., life satisfaction, positive affect, depression, and anxiety). We first examined the degree of empirical and conceptual overlap among the personality constructs from these two domains. Here, we found that higher levels of gratitude and savoring were associated with higher levels of self-enhancing and affiliative humor, whereas higher levels of aggressive and self-defeating humor were primarily associated with lower levels of gratitude. Subsequent regression analyses indicated that the positive psychology construct of gratitude was predictive of several different indices of positive and negative well-being, whereas savoring was most predictive of greater positive affect. In addition, these regression analyses also revealed that the humor styles of self-enhancing and self-defeating humor provided a significant increase in the prediction of several positive and negative indices of well-being, above and beyond the effects attributable to the positive psychology constructs alone. These findings were then discussed in terms of developing a broader and more integrated theoretical approach to the understanding of psychological well-being.