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The fear of being laughed at (gelotophobia) and personality


Ruch, Willibald; Proyer, Rene T; Popa, D E (2008). The fear of being laughed at (gelotophobia) and personality. In: Institutului de Istorie “G Baritiu” din Cluj-Napoca. Anuarul Institutului de Istorie “G. Baritiu” din Cluj-Napoca. Cluj-Napoca: Institutului de Istorie Naţională, 53-68.

Abstract

Gelotophobia is defined as the fear of being laughed at. First empirical studies of the concept (Ruch & Proyer, in press, 2008) show that it is a valid new construct. Furthermore, it can be assessed reliably by means of a self-report instrument (GELPH<46>). Gelotophobes interpret the laughter and smiling of other persons not in a positive way but as a weapon used to put them down. They are persistently concerned about being laughed at by others and are convinced of being ridiculous. While gelotophobia was first observed in clinical case studies, it is now considered as an individual difference phenomenon within the range of normality. We investigated whether it can be located in a comprehensive model of personality, namely, the Five Factor Model (FFM). A study investigating N = 119 participants showed that gelotophobia is high among emotionally instable introverts. Furthermore, there were lower but significant negative correlations with friendliness, openness and social desirability. However, only emotional stability and extraversion entered a stepwise regression analysis. Overall, the results fit the predictions very well and led to a revised version of a putative model of origins and consequences of gelotophobia. The concept of gelotophobia is of relevance in Romania, too. Results from the first data collection (N = 200) with a Romanian version of the short form of the self-report measure (GELOPH<15>) showed that approx. 13% of the participants exceeded a cut-off score indicating at least a slight expression of the fear of being laughed at. The Romanian version showed good psychometric properties in terms of high reliability and—as in the German and English form—a unidimensional factor solution. Based on these first promising experiences with this new concept, further studies on the fear of being laughed at in Romania are encouraged.

Gelotophobia is defined as the fear of being laughed at. First empirical studies of the concept (Ruch & Proyer, in press, 2008) show that it is a valid new construct. Furthermore, it can be assessed reliably by means of a self-report instrument (GELPH<46>). Gelotophobes interpret the laughter and smiling of other persons not in a positive way but as a weapon used to put them down. They are persistently concerned about being laughed at by others and are convinced of being ridiculous. While gelotophobia was first observed in clinical case studies, it is now considered as an individual difference phenomenon within the range of normality. We investigated whether it can be located in a comprehensive model of personality, namely, the Five Factor Model (FFM). A study investigating N = 119 participants showed that gelotophobia is high among emotionally instable introverts. Furthermore, there were lower but significant negative correlations with friendliness, openness and social desirability. However, only emotional stability and extraversion entered a stepwise regression analysis. Overall, the results fit the predictions very well and led to a revised version of a putative model of origins and consequences of gelotophobia. The concept of gelotophobia is of relevance in Romania, too. Results from the first data collection (N = 200) with a Romanian version of the short form of the self-report measure (GELOPH<15>) showed that approx. 13% of the participants exceeded a cut-off score indicating at least a slight expression of the fear of being laughed at. The Romanian version showed good psychometric properties in terms of high reliability and—as in the German and English form—a unidimensional factor solution. Based on these first promising experiences with this new concept, further studies on the fear of being laughed at in Romania are encouraged.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, not refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:22 Oct 2008 10:31
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:29
Publisher:Institutului de Istorie Naţională
Number:6
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-4117

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