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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1988 Mar;54(3):520-5.

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

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Department of Psychology, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, New Jersey 07666.


Previous research has indicated that one's sense of humor serves as a moderator of the deleterious effects of negative stressful life events. However, because this research has been only cross-sectional in nature, such conclusions remain tentative. The purpose of this study was to provide for a more rigorous test of the humor as a stress-buffer hypothesis by using a prospective design that also attempted to control for the variance attributable to prior level of distress. Additionally, two measures of humor were included to increase the construct validity of the findings. 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. Implications of these findings for future research are noted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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