Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science




Dr. Nick Kuiper


This study investigated how individuals respond to four different styles of social comments that were presented either with or without humor, or humorously by a depressed acquaintance. Using a brief scenario format, 264 participants completed questionnaires measuring their responses to these comments, as well as their own levels of depression, social interaction anxiety, and self-esteem. Results showed humor led to a higher willingness to interact in the future, and had other facilitative positive effects that were specific to each style of comments. Identifying the presenter as depressed hindered some of these facilitative effects of humor, had detrimental effects for self-defeating humorous comments; and had facilitative effects for affiliative humorous comments. Finally, the role of recipients’ level of psychological well-being was minimal. Overall, these findings provide some support for the facilitative effects of humor on interpersonal interactions, and suggest certain characteristics of the presenter (i.e., depression level) may alter these effects.



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