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The four humor styles described by Martin et al. (2003).

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  • Aug 2011
The way individuals use humor is likely to be influenced by how they feel about themselves. The goal of the present studies was to examine the association between the pathological forms of narcissism (grandiose and vulnerable narcissism) and humor styles in Jewish Israeli undergraduate samples as they made the adjustment to being university student...

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... has been conceptualized in various ways. The classic psychody- namic model of humor developed by Freud (1905/1960, 1928) suggested that individuals often use humor to defend themselves against feelings of anxiety or to express unconscious desires (e.g., aggression), whereas later theorists suggested that humor serves an array of functions such as perspective-taking (e.g., Allport, 1961; Maslow, 1954; see Martin, Puhlik-Doris, Larsen, Gray, & Weir, 2003, for a review). An important innovation in research concerning humor has been the recent development of a two-dimensional framework for understanding the interpersonal nature of humor (Martin et al., 2003). Humor is primarily a social phenomenon that serves a variety of interpersonal functions including social control, status maintenance, and group cohesion (Martin, 2007). The framework developed by Martin and his colleagues (2003) suggests that there are two underlying dimensions that reflect both the interpersonal nature of humor (i.e., injurious or benign) as well as the target of enhancement (i.e., the self or relationships with others). The combination of these two dimensions results in four distinct humor styles that are referred to as affiliative humor (i.e., benign humor that is used to enhance relationships with others such as telling jokes or engaging in friendly banter), self-enhancing humor (i.e., benign humor that is used to enhance the self through means such as finding amusement even during stressful situations), aggressive humor (i.e., injurious humor that is used to enhance the self such as ridiculing or teasing others to put them down), and self-defeating humor (i.e., injurious humor that is used to enhance relationships with others through actions such as belittling oneself). The underlying dimensions of humor and the four humor styles that emerge from their combination are depicted in Figure 1. The relatively benign (or adaptive) styles of humor (i.e., affiliative and self-enhancing) have been found to be associated with personality features such as high levels of extraversion, openness, and self-esteem. In contrast, the more injurious (or maladaptive) styles of humor (i.e., self-defeating and aggressive) have been found to be associated with high levels of neuroticism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, as well as low levels of agreeableness and conscientious- ness (Galloway, 2010; Martin et al., 2003; Vernon, Martin, Schermer, & Mackie, 2008; Veselka, Schermer, Martin, & Vernon, 2010; see Martin, 2007, for a review). The differentiation between adaptive and maladaptive styles of humor is largely consistent with previous views of humor that recognized the fact that humor can be used in different ways and serve different purposes (e.g., Freud, 1905/1960). One factor that may influence how individuals use humor is how they feel about themselves. For example, self-esteem has been found to be positively correlated with the adaptive styles of humor and negatively correlated with the maladaptive styles (Galloway, 2010). That is, individuals with high self-esteem tend to use benign forms of humor that serve affiliative or self-enhancing goals rather than forms of humor that are injurious. The link between high levels of self-esteem and humor styles is particularly interesting given recent research showing that high self-esteem is associated with interpersonal styles characterized by a blend of dominance and affiliation (e.g., Zeigler-Hill, 2010; Zeigler-Hill, Clark, & Beckman, in press). Consistent with these self-esteem findings, narcissism—which refers to grandiose and inflated views of the self— has been found to be associated with the adaptive forms of humor but not the maladaptive forms (Veselka et al., 2010). Narcissism is characterized by an assured-dominant interpersonal style that focuses on interpersonal control and social dominance (e.g., Gurtman, 1992; Ruiz, Smith, & Rhodewalt, 2001). According to Foa and Foa (1974), the interpersonal style of narcissists is characterized by a pattern of social exchange in which both love and status are granted to the self but only love is granted to others while status is withheld from them. This suggests that narcissists may use affiliative and self-enhancing humor styles to foster positive relationships with others which may indirectly serve their self- esteem regulation goals (i.e., they may feel better about themselves when they receive the respect and admiration of others; Morf & Rhodewalt, 2001). Interest in narcissism spans both clinical and social-personality psychology but it has been difficult to integrate these bodies of literature because of differences in their conceptualization and measurement of narcissism (Cain, Pincus, & Ansell, 2008; Miller & Campbell, 2008; Pincus, Ansell, Pimentel, Cain, Wright, & Levy, 2009). Clinical psychologists generally think of narcissism in terms of the personality disorder that is often believed to be associated with arrogant or haughty behaviors, feelings of entitlement, a lack of empathy, and a willingness to exploit other individuals (American Psy- chiatric Association, 2000). This form of narcissism is characterized by emotional instability such that these individuals tend to experience negative emotional states. In contrast, social-personality psychologists usually focus on subclinical levels of narcissism and conceptualize it as a normally dis- tributed personality feature that has elements of emotional resilience and extraversion because it blends the relatively adaptive properties of narcissism (e.g., leadership and authority) with those that are maladaptive (e.g., exploi- tation and entitlement; see Miller & Campbell, 2008, or Pincus & Lukowitsky, 2010, for extended discussions). These differences result in clinical psychologists thinking of narcissism as a more pathological construct than the way in which it is typically viewed by social-personality psychologists. Consequently, new assessment tools such as the Pathological Narcissism Inventory (PNI; Pincus et al., 2009) have been developed to assess the more pathological form of narcissism that is not adequately captured by commonly used measures such as the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI; Raskin & Hall, 1979, 1981). It is important to note that the form of narcissism that has previously been examined in conjunction with humor has been the relatively healthy and adaptive form of narcissism that is assessed by the NPI (e.g., Veselka et al., 2010). Pathological narcissism is a complex and heterogeneous construct that consists of both a grandiose and a vulnerable form (see Pincus & Lukowitsky, 2010, for a review). The grandiose form of pathological narcissism is the most easily recognized because it is characterized by maladaptive self- enhancement strategies such as holding an overly positive self-image, ex- ploiting others, and ...
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Pathological Forms of Narcissism and Perceived Stress During the Transition to the University: The Mediating Role of Humor Styles
2020/10/17 16:25