Is it worth turning a trigger into a joke? Humor as an emotion regulation strategy in remitted depression

Anna Braniecka , Małgorzata Hanć , Iwona Wołkowicz , Agnieszka Chrzczonowicz-Stępień , Agnieszka Mikołajonek , Monika Lipiec


Aim: Humor has long been considered as an effective emotion regulation strategy for people vulnerable to depression, but empirical evidence in this area is scarce. To ad‐ dress this issue, we investigated the emotional consequences of humor in remitted depressed patients and compared them with the effects of positive reappraisal and spontaneous emotion regulation. Methods: Fifty‐five patients with remitted major depression took part in a laboratory computer experiment in which they were shown negative pictures twice. First, the patients simply viewed the pictures and rated their reactions. Second, they viewed each of the pictures according to instructions, which are to (a) use humor, (b) use posi‐ tive reappraisal, or (c) simply view the pictures, and then, they again rated their reactions. Results: Humor was found to decrease negative emotions, increase positive emo‐ tions, and enhance the distance from adversity; it was more effective than spontane‐ ous emotion regulation and similarly as effective as positive reappraisal. Humor was the most effortful form of emotion regulation. Patients were able to successfully produce humorous comments, and their failure to do so did not lead to worse emo‐ tional outcomes than regulating emotions spontaneously. The analyses also indicated that distancing mediates between using humor and the intensity of positive and neg‐ ative emotions. Conclusions: Our findings provide preliminary empirical support for the idea that for individuals vulnerable to depression, humor can be an adaptive tool in dealing with negative responses to aversive events, and, thus, it may impair their potential of these events to trigger depressive episodes. Further studies in this area are war‐ ranted to determine the most adaptive forms of humor and analyze their effects in various depressogenic contexts
Author Anna Braniecka (Wydział Psychologii)
Anna Braniecka,,
- Wydział Psychologii
, Małgorzata Hanć
Małgorzata Hanć,,
, Iwona Wołkowicz
Iwona Wołkowicz,,
, Agnieszka Chrzczonowicz-Stępień (Wydział Psychologii)
Agnieszka Chrzczonowicz-Stępień,,
- Wydział Psychologii
, Agnieszka Mikołajonek
Agnieszka Mikołajonek,,
, Monika Lipiec
Monika Lipiec,,
Journal seriesBrain and Behavior, ISSN 2162-3279, e-ISSN 2162-3279, (N/A 70 pkt)
Issue year2019
Publication size in sheets0.55
Keywords in Englishdepression, emotion regulation, humor, reappraisal, remission
ASJC Classification2802 Behavioral Neuroscience
Languageen angielski
Is it worth turning a trigger into a joke_ Humor as an emotion regulation strategy in remitted depression.pdf 612.46 KB
Additional file
Oswiadczenie_A.Braniecka.pdf 15.43 KB
Score (nominal)70
Score sourcejournalList
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2016 = 0.707; WoS Impact Factor: 2017 = 2.219 (2) - 2017=2.539 (5)
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