Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. Julie Aitken Schermer


The present study examined the relationship between humor styles and depression using two methods of examination: (1) the mean humor style differences between individuals who reported that they had been diagnosed with depression versus those who did not report being depressed; and (2) a short scale assessing depressed affect. Participants were 878 adult Australians. With respect to mean differences, depressed individuals were found to use self-defeating humor more, and self-enhancing humor less than non-depressed adults. When the depressed affect scale score was analyzed, negative correlations were found between depressed affect and both positive styles of humor, affiliative and self-enhancing. Additionally, a positive correlation was found between depressed affect and both aggressive and self-defeating humor. These results hope to shed light on the uses of humor in depressed individuals, and to further research to understand how humor can be used to improve or hurt depressive outcomes.