Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Humor Styles in Predicting Loneliness among Turkish University Students

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Humor Styles in Predicting Loneliness among Turkish University Students

Article excerpt

The purpose of this investigation was two-fold. Firstly, to examine whether there were significant correlations between loneliness and four humor styles, and secondly to examine which humor style was the best predictor of loneliness among university students. In this study 483 undergraduate students participated at Çukurova University, Turkey. Data were collected through the Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale (Russell, Peplau, & Cutrona, 1980) and the Humor Styles Questionnaire (Martin, Puhlik-Doris, Larsen, Gray, & Weir, 2003). Four Pearson product-moment correlations were computed for the scores on the Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale and on each of four humor scales. The results provided evidence in support of a conceptual framework of humor styles and loneliness indicating strong negative correlations between loneliness and affiliative and self-enhancing humor, and moderate positive correlations between loneliness and self-defeating humor, but no significant correlations between loneliness and aggressive humor. The stepwise regression analysis results indicated that four variables contributed meaningfully to loneliness, and the affiliative humor style was the best predictor of loneliness.

Keywords: humor, Turkish university students, loneliness.

Loneliness is a common and often debilitating problem for individuals in contemporary society (McWhirter, 1990; Peplau & Perlman, 1982) and its consequences are detrimental to one's emotional, physical, and psychological health (Ernst & Cacioppo, 1998). Even with advances in technology designed to facilitate communication between people, loneliness may be on the rise (Jackson, Soderlind, & Weiss, 2000). Loneliness is typically defined as the unpleasant experience that occurs when a person's network of social relationships is deficient in some important way, either qualitatively or quantitatively. Such a deficit occurs when a person's interpersonal needs cannot be satisfied within his or her social network (Perlman & Peplau, 1982, p. 31). A review of the literature shows that loneliness has been linked to low self-esteem (Çeçen, in press; Peplau & Perlman, 1982; Weiss, 1973), poor social skills (Deniz, Hamarta, & An, 2005; DiTommaso, Brannen-McNulty, Ross, & Burgess, 2003; Wittenberg & Reis, 1986), poor interpersonal relationships, poor social adjustment (Jones, Rose, & Russell, 1990; Moore & Schultz, 1983) and shyness (Jones & Carpenter, 1986). There are inconsistent research results related to gender differences on loneliness (Demir, 1989; Jones et al., 1990; Peplau & Perlman, 1982).

Martin et al. (2003), based on different humor theories, identified four different styles of humor, two of which are adaptive (affiliative and self-enhancing) and two of which are maladaptive (aggressive and self-defeating). Affiliative humor is an essentially nonhostile, tolerant use of humor that is affirming of self and others and presumably enhances interpersonal cohesiveness and attraction. "This style is associated with extraversion, cheerfulness, self-esteem, intimacy, relationship satisfaction and predominantly positive moods and emotions" (Martin et al., p. 54). Self-enhancing humor involves a generally humorous outlook on life, a tendency to be frequently amused by the incongruities of life, and an ability to maintain a humorous perspective, even in the face of stress or adversity (Kuiper, Martin, & Olinger, 1993). Individuals who utilize this style demonstrate good psychological health, high self-esteem, and an overall readiness to partake in new experiences and expose themselves to new environments (Martin et al.). Aggressive humor is related to the use of sarcasm, teasing, ridicule, derision, "put-down," or disparagement (Zillman, 1983). "This style is associated with neuroticism, anger, aggression, hostility and negatively related to relationship satisfaction, agreeableness, and conscientiousness" (Martin et al. …

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