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Relationships of retrospectively assessed class clown behavior with current humor and well-being


Platt, Tracey; Gander, Fabian; Giuliani, Fiorina (2019). Relationships of retrospectively assessed class clown behavior with current humor and well-being. Current Psychology:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

Previous research (Ruch et al. 2014) identified four dimensions of class clown behavior (identifying as a class clown, comic talent, disruptive rule-breaker, and subversive joker), and confirmed their relevance for well-being in adolescents and school achievement. However, the correlational patterns between the four class clown behaviors and humor dimensions has not been examined so far. In a sample of 1451 German-speaking adults, this study investigates the relationships of retrospectively assessed class clown behavior with eight different humor dimensions stemming from two models (i.e., fun, mockery, inept humor, cognitive humor, laughter, canned humor/jokes, and benevolent and corrective humor). Further, we studied the associations of class clown behavior with past, present, and future life satisfaction, and different orientations to well-being (i.e., towards pleasure, engagement, meaning, positive relationships, and accomplishment). Results identified that class clown behavior positively related to all dimensions of humor with the strongest relationships for the dimensions of fun, mockery, and corrective humor. While all class clown dimensions positively related to the orientations to pleasure and meaning, a differential pattern of relationships was obtained for life satisfaction: Comic talent and joker went along with past life satisfaction, while identifying as a class clown negatively related to present life satisfaction. We conclude that: (1) the humor of class clowns is described best by the humor dimensions of fun, mockery, and corrective humor; (2) different dimensions of class clowning show similar, but distinguishable correlational patterns to the humor dimensions; (3) specific dimensions of class clowning relate to past and present life satisfaction, and these relationships cannot be explained by the current use of humor.

Personality traits show a relative stability across time. Individual differences also tend to generalize across situations. A high scorer in a trait will be recognized in the respective environment and might even earn nicknames for his or her salient behaviors. In the case of trait humorists, nouns such as “organizational fool” (Kets de Vries 1990) or “class clown” (Damico and Purkey 1978) represent informal roles that people with high scores in humor may assume at the workplace and in school settings, respectively. Indeed, Ruch et al. (2014) studied 24 character strength in a sample of adolescents and found that humor was a signature strength of class clowns: 29.1% had it placed as the top strength of 24 (compared to 7.7% of the non class clowns), 62.8% among the top three (non class clowns = 20.7%), and 75.5% (non class clowns = 30.1%) among the top five strengths. Thus, their general inclination to be humorous also extended to humor in the classroom.

Currently, it is not known how class clown behavior relates to different aspects of humorous conduct. Humor has been acknowledged to be multidimensional (e.g., Craik et al. 1996; Martin 2018; Ruch 2007) and the question arises which of the components of humor predicts class clown behavior, i.e., what type of humor traits extends to the humor shown in the class room.

Abstract

Previous research (Ruch et al. 2014) identified four dimensions of class clown behavior (identifying as a class clown, comic talent, disruptive rule-breaker, and subversive joker), and confirmed their relevance for well-being in adolescents and school achievement. However, the correlational patterns between the four class clown behaviors and humor dimensions has not been examined so far. In a sample of 1451 German-speaking adults, this study investigates the relationships of retrospectively assessed class clown behavior with eight different humor dimensions stemming from two models (i.e., fun, mockery, inept humor, cognitive humor, laughter, canned humor/jokes, and benevolent and corrective humor). Further, we studied the associations of class clown behavior with past, present, and future life satisfaction, and different orientations to well-being (i.e., towards pleasure, engagement, meaning, positive relationships, and accomplishment). Results identified that class clown behavior positively related to all dimensions of humor with the strongest relationships for the dimensions of fun, mockery, and corrective humor. While all class clown dimensions positively related to the orientations to pleasure and meaning, a differential pattern of relationships was obtained for life satisfaction: Comic talent and joker went along with past life satisfaction, while identifying as a class clown negatively related to present life satisfaction. We conclude that: (1) the humor of class clowns is described best by the humor dimensions of fun, mockery, and corrective humor; (2) different dimensions of class clowning show similar, but distinguishable correlational patterns to the humor dimensions; (3) specific dimensions of class clowning relate to past and present life satisfaction, and these relationships cannot be explained by the current use of humor.

Personality traits show a relative stability across time. Individual differences also tend to generalize across situations. A high scorer in a trait will be recognized in the respective environment and might even earn nicknames for his or her salient behaviors. In the case of trait humorists, nouns such as “organizational fool” (Kets de Vries 1990) or “class clown” (Damico and Purkey 1978) represent informal roles that people with high scores in humor may assume at the workplace and in school settings, respectively. Indeed, Ruch et al. (2014) studied 24 character strength in a sample of adolescents and found that humor was a signature strength of class clowns: 29.1% had it placed as the top strength of 24 (compared to 7.7% of the non class clowns), 62.8% among the top three (non class clowns = 20.7%), and 75.5% (non class clowns = 30.1%) among the top five strengths. Thus, their general inclination to be humorous also extended to humor in the classroom.

Currently, it is not known how class clown behavior relates to different aspects of humorous conduct. Humor has been acknowledged to be multidimensional (e.g., Craik et al. 1996; Martin 2018; Ruch 2007) and the question arises which of the components of humor predicts class clown behavior, i.e., what type of humor traits extends to the humor shown in the class room.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > General Psychology
Language:English
Date:2019
Deposited On:18 Dec 2019 11:05
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 12:27
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1046-1310
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-019-00571-9

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