Is Humor the Best Medicine? Sense of Humor as a Mediator of the Relation between Dimensions of Perfectionism and Social Anxiety and Depression in College Students
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
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The diathesis stress model has been utilized to help clarify the association between aspects of perfectionism and psychopathology, as it emphasizes the role of poor coping skills. The current study aimed to explore the diathesis stress model further, by examining humor’s (i.e., adaptive and maladaptive forms) role in the relationship between perfectionism and psychopathology. Four-hundred and fifty-nine Auburn University undergraduate students were recruited to determine whether humor styles mediated the relationship between Hewitt and Flett’s (1991b) dimensions of perfectionism (socially prescribed, self-oriented, and other-oriented) and social anxiety/depression, respectively. Regression analyses revealed 1) self-defeating humor mediated the association between socially-prescribed perfectionism and social anxiety and depressive symptoms, respectively, 2) affiliative humor mediated the relationship between socially-prescribed perfectionism and social anxiety symptoms, and 3) self-enhancing humor mediated the relationship between self-oriented perfectionism and social anxiety and depressive symptoms, respectively. Suggestions for future directions and clinical implications are provided.