Laughing together: The relationships between humor and friendship in childhood through to adulthood
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Jones, S., James, L., Fox, C. & Blunn, L. (2021) Laughing together: The relationships between humor and friendship in childhood through to adulthood. In: Altmann, T. (ed.) Friendship in Cultural and Personality Psychology: International Perspectives. New York: Nova.
The ‘humor styles’ approach assumes that humor can be adaptive and maladaptive, with four main styles reflecting how we use humor in every-day life: Affiliative, Self-enhancing, Self defeating, and Aggressive. In this chapter we present findings from several studies, with children, adolescents, and adults, all exploring the associations between the four humor styles and different aspects of friendship. It is argued that the different styles of humor have an important influence on our social relationships. For example, affiliative humor may be used by children to maintain their friendships. It is enjoyed and valued by others and so its use can add to children’s ongoing popularity and acceptance. Furthermore, humor increases in comfortable social settings, providing peer accepted children with further opportunities to become skilled in their use of adaptive humor. We examine associations between humor and different facets of friendships, such as number of friends, friendship quality, and skills in initiating relationships, and provide evidence of a reciprocal relationship between humor and friendship. We further examine research on cultural influences on the links between humor styles and friendship relations.