Benefits of Humor in Reduction of Threat-Induced Anxiety

  title={Benefits of Humor in Reduction of Threat-Induced Anxiety},
  author={Nancy A. Yovetich and J. Alexander Dale and Mary A. Hudak},
  journal={Psychological Reports},
  pages={51 - 58}
The benefits of humor in reducing anxiety were investigated in a laboratory study, in which subjects were falsely led to believe they would receive a shock in 12 min. Participants were 53 undergraduate students with either high or low sense of humor as measured by the Situational Humor Response Questionnaire of Martin and Lefcourt (1984). During the anticipatory period, subjects listened to either a humorous tape, a nonhumorous tape, or no tape. Dependent variables were repeated measures of… 

Figures from this paper

Effect of Exposure to Humorous Stimuli on Induced Depression

Seven women, who were not included in the above analysis because their initial MAACL depression scores were at least one SD above the mean, showed a paradoxical decrease in depression scores after the depression induction.

Humor and Affective Consequences of a Stressful Task

Abstract This study addressed the combined effects of trait humor and a humorous situation designed to generate mirth on affective consequences following anagram tasks inducing either low or high

Feasibility of a Humor Training to Promote Humor and Decrease Stress in a Subclinical Sample: A Single-Arm Pilot Study

The pilot study showed promising effects for people suffering from subclinical symptoms and Humor trainings could be integrated more into mental health care as an innovative program to reduce stress whilst promoting also positive emotions.

When humor is a matter of heart: Effects on emotional state and interbeat interval

ABSTRACT Previous studies demonstrated that exposure to humor has beneficial effects on psychological well-being. In the present work, we investigated the behavioral and psychophysiological effects

The Relationship Between Humor and Physical Therapist Students' Anxiety

Background and Purpose. Anxiety, a commonly reported symptom of stress in college students, may be disabling if it persists. Since some studies have demonstrated the influence of humor in reducing

Psychology of Computer Use: XLII. Problem Solving and Humor as a Function of Computer Anxiety

Although the electromyogram for zygomatic tension (smiles) was higher in the jokes condition, indicating that subjects responded to jokes as humorous, Computer-anxious subjects showed increased scores on anxiety and depression and relatively high skin conductance on the initial joke.

High Trait Cheerfulness Individuals are More Sensitive to the Emotional Environment

The aim of this paper was to study whether trait cheerfulness modulates changes in state cheerfulness as a result of exposing participants to affective stimuli. Two studies with a within-participant

Exposure to humor before and after an unpleasant stimulus: Humor as a preventative or a cure

The results suggest that humor may help in dealing with some negative psychological conditions more so than others, and exposure to humor, with or without accompanying laughter, should be a positive factor in minimizing the negative impact of potentially threatening social events.

Finding comfort in a joke: consolatory effects of humor through cognitive distraction.

These findings fully support Van Dillen and Koole's working memory model of distraction from negative mood and suggest that humor may attenuate negative emotions as a result of cognitive distraction.

Effects of Humorous Stimuli and Sense of Humor on Discomfort

Evidence was found for subjects to smile “wryly” (an increase in zygomatic and corrugator tensions) more during humorous stimuli than nonhumorous stimuli when they were waiting to be stimulated with the TENS.



Sense of humor as a moderator of the relation between stressors and moods.

Three studies are reported that investigated the hypothesis, long held by theorists, therapists, and laypersons alike, that a sense of humor reduces the deleterious impact of stressful experiences.

Sense of humor as a moderator of the relation between stressful events and psychological distress: a prospective analysis.

Results from a series of regression analyses indicated that humor served as a moderator of stress for depressive, but not anxiety, symptomatology, regardless of the measure of humor that was used in the analyses.

Judged humor, arousal, and the relief theory.

  • A. Shurcliff
  • Psychology
    Journal of personality and social psychology
  • 1968
The hypothesis that humor represents the sudden relief from strong affect was tested, and humor ratings showed a significant positive trend with both anxiety and surprisingness, supporting the relief theory of humor and suggesting surprisingness as a strongly correlated variable.

Situational Humor Response Questionnaire: Quantitative measure of sense of humor.

In this article, the development of the Situational Humor Response Questionnaire (SHRQ) is described and the findings of three validity studies are reported. We designed this 21-item scale to assess

Depressive and Elative Mood Inductions as a Function of Exaggerated versus Contradictory Facial Expressions

Facial expressions only seem to modify the emotion in the case of depression being exacerbated by frowning and a contradictory facial expression did not affect the rating of an emotion.

The stress-moderating effects of weeping and humor.

Humor-coping buffered stress in all groups except for males who reported frequent crying, and subjects who reported weeping frequently showed more mood disturbance at high levels of negative events.

The effect of an academic examination on salivary norepinephrine and immunoglobulin levels.

The examination stimulated adrenergic activity, which in the long run depressed immune function for those with a strong power motive who had been most aroused adrenergically by the examination, and for those for whom n power was stronger.

A funny thing happened on the way to the morgue: Some thoughts on humor and death, and a taxonomy of the humor associated with death

Abstract Literature on humor and on the humor associated with death is reviewed, and death humor is seen to have functions both as a defense mechanism as well as a social lubricant; it also helps

Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious

While in this book Freud tells some good stories with his customary verve and economy, its point is wholly serious.

Handbook of humor and psychotherapy

  • Sarasota, FL: Professional Resource Exchange,
  • 1987