Humour styles and their relationships with wellbeing and social support, and an introduction to reappraisal theory : a thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Psychology at Massey University

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Massey University
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Humour can have both positive and negative effects on individuals, teams and organisations. Recent research has identified a humour styles model that separates humour usage into four psychological categories: self-enhancing humour, self-defeating humour, affiliative humour and aggressive humour. This study replicates previously established bivariate relationships between the humour styles, social support, and wellbeing. Building on existing research, a multivariate framework is also investigated with each of the humour styles, looking at how social support factors into their relationship with wellbeing. Using a survey of 174 participants, two of the four humour styles were confirmed and support was found for the majority of the bivariate hypotheses, particularly regarding self-enhancing humour. Most significantly, both of the self-oriented humour styles were found to relate to wellbeing independently of social support. Implication of these findings are discussed for the workplace, with an emphasis on humour styles as an indicator of emotional wellbeing. It is suggested that the findings of this study support the theory of humour as a coping mechanism. Finally, as the existing theories of humour are argued to be insufficient, a contribution to the theoretical discussion of humour, introduced as reappraisal theory, is presented and discussed.
Humour and wellbeing, Humour in the workplace, Humour