Adolescent humor and its relationship to coping, defense strategies, psychological distress, and well-being

Sarah J. Erickson, Sarah W. Feldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Objective: This study investigated the psychometric properties of the Humor Styles Questionnaire (HSQ) in measuring adolescent humor, including the relationship between humor and coping style, defense style, depressive symptoms, and adjustment in a non-clinical sample of adolescents. Method: Humor, coping, defense strategies, depressive symptoms, and adjustment were investigated in 94 adolescents aged 12-15. Results: The HSQ demonstrated adequate internal consistency. Inter-scale correlational patterns and scale means were similar for adolescents and adults. Convergent validity for the HSQ was supported by its relationship to: an adolescent-standardized humor defense scale; coping and defense strategies; and depressive symptoms and adjustment. Clinical utility of the HSQ was demonstrated by its unique contribution in predicting both depressive symptoms and adjustment above and beyond contributions from coping and defense composites. Discussion: The HSQ appears to be a psychometrically sound and clinically useful measure to assess humor dimensions in adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-271
Number of pages17
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Adjustment
  • Adolescence
  • Coping
  • Defenses
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Humor
  • Positive psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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