2012. Vol.3, No.8, 638-641
Published Online August 2012 in SciRes (http://www.SciRP.org/journal/psych) http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/psych.2012.38098
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
The Prediction Level of Self-Esteem on Humor Style and
Faculty of Letters and Sciences, Department of Psychology, Istanbul Arel University, Istanbul, Turkey
Received May 24th, 2012; revised June 20th, 2012; accepted July 10th, 2012
The aim of this study is to analyze if there are significant correlations among self-esteem, humor styles
and positive-negative affection and if self esteem significantly predicts humor styles and positive-negative
affection. A total of 440 under graduate students (77% female) chosen by random set sampling method
participated in this study voluntarily. The mean age of the participants was 20.33 with a standard devia-
tion of 1.73. Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, Humor Styles Questionnaire and The Positive and Negative
Affect Schedule were employed in order to collect the data of the study. To analyze the data the Pearson
moments correlation technique and multiple regression analysis were used. According to the findings of
the study there were positive significant correlations between self-esteem and affiliative and self-en-
hancing humor styles, negative correlations between self esteem and aggressive and self defeating humor
styles. Another finding of the study shows that there is a significant positive correlation between self-es-
teem and positive affection and a significant negative correlation between self-esteem and negative affect.
Self-esteem significantly predicts the humor styles sub dimensions. Self-esteem explains 3.1% of the total
variance in affiliative humor style (R2 = .031, β = .176, p < .001), 5.7% of the total variance in self en-
hancing humor style (R2 = .057, β = .239, p < .001), 1.1% of the total variance in aggressive humor style
(R2 = .011, β = –.107, p < .05), 4.1% of the total variance in self defeating humor style (R2 = .041, β =
–.208, p < .001). As a result of the analysis predicting the positive-negative affection; self-esteem explains
14.7% of the total variance in positive affect (R2 = .147, β = .384, p < .001) and 4.2% of the total variance
in negative affect (R2 = –.042, β = –.204, p < .001).
Keywords: Humor Styles; Positive-Negative Affect; Self-Esteem; Prediction
Self concept is a collection of the most important self percep-
tions, feelings, and thoughts on the basis of human personality
(Öner, 1996). According to Chrzanowski (1981) in the broadest
sense self esteem is the positive evaluation of the self, based on
a good assessment his/her own abilities and powers. However,
Coopersmith (1967) evaluates self-esteem as an important di-
mension of personality and a positive personality trait and also
defines it as a degree of which an individual perceive him/her-
self efficient, important, competent and worthy.
Self-esteem is a concept associated with individuals’ mental
health and is an important part of one’s overall well-being, it
should in turn, be associated with other, general indicators of
well-being such as positive and negative affection. Positive
affection represents the extent to which an individual experiences
pleasurable engagement with the environment whereas high
negative affection epitomized by subjective distress and un-
pleasurable engagement (Watson & Clark, 1984). Watson,
Wiese, Vaidya and Tellegen (1999) state that positive affection
and negative affection are defined by the activation of posi-
tively and negatively valence effects respectively (i.e. The
lower ends of each dimension are typified by its absence).
On the other hand, the emotional responses to encountering
challenge stressors include not only general positive emotions,
such as happiness and joy, but also pride which is an emotion
that is specifically related to achievement and involves ap-
praisal of one’s worth as a person. Self-esteem which is a per-
sonal judgment of worthiness is related to positive affection.
Subjects high in self esteem, compared to subjects low in
self-esteem were found to be more assertive, flexible and
imaginative and were capable to find original solutions to the
problems (Pervin, 1993). An individual with a humorous atti-
tude is someone who understands the insufficiencies and short-
comings of life and fellow humans but also tolerates and for-
gives them rather than pokes fun at them. Self-esteem is known
strongly relate to sense of humor (Kuiper & Martin, 1998).
Humor Styles Questionnaire (HSQ) (Martin et al., 2003) has
four dimensions-two adaptive and two maladaptive styles of
humor, relating to different uses or functions of humor in eve-
ryday life focuses on the interpersonal and intrapsychic func-
tions relevant to psychosocial well-being and various aspects of
mental health. Two of these dimensions are considered to be
conducive to psychosocial well-being and the other two are less
benign and potentially even deleterious to well-being. The two
adaptive styles are affiliative and self-enhancing humor and the
two maladaptive humor styles are aggressive and self-defeating
humor. Afilliative humor style reflects the tendency to share
humor with others, telling jokes and amusing others and facili-
tating relationships. Self-enhancing humor style is to use humor
as a coping strategy and emotion regulation in coping with
stress and cheer oneself with up humor. Aggressive humor is
tendency to use humor for the purpose of criticizing or ma-
*This paper was presented at the 4th International Congress of Educa-
tional Research, İstanbul, Turkey, 4-7 May 2012.
nipulating others, say funny things that are likely to hurt or
alienate others. Aggressive humor style is excessively critical
and ridiculing of one’s self and attempts to amuse others by
doing or saying funny things at one’s own expense (Martin,
2003; Martin, Puhlik-Doris, Larsen, Gray & Weir, 2003; Ka-
zarian & Martin, 2004). Affiliative and self-enhancing humor
styles were positively related to self-esteem whereas self-defeating
humor was negatively related to self-esteem (Saroglou & Scar-
iot, 2002). Consequently self-esteem origins starting in child-
hood and organized in adolescent may be a factor that effecting
the life permanently (Satılmış & Seber, 1989). This factor
might have an effect on individuals’ humor styles and posi-
tive-negative affection in their further life. The aim of this study
is to analyze if there are significant correlations among self-
esteem, humor styles and positive-negative affection and if self
esteem significantly predicts humor styles and positive-negative
affection. In consistent with the aim of the study, the answers of
the given questions were looked for.
1) Is there a significant correlation between self-esteem and
2) Does the self-esteem significantly predict the humor
3) Is there significant correlation between self-esteem and
4) Does the self-esteem significantly predict positive-negative
A total of 440 under graduate students (77% female) chosen
by random set sampling method participated in this study vol-
untarily. The mean age of the participants were 20.33 with a
standart deviation of 1.73.
Humor Styles Questionnaire (HSQ: Martin et al., 2003). The
HSQ consists of a total of 32 self-report items assessing four
different styles of humor, two of them are adaptive and two are
maladaptive. Respondents indicate the degree to which they
agree or disagree with each item using a seven-point Likert
Scale. HSQ was adapted into Turkish by Yerlikaya (2003), The
Cronbach alpha coefficient scores of HSQ were found .74 for
affiliative humor, .78 for self-enhancing humor, .69 for ag-
gressive humor and .67 for self defeating humor. The test- re-
test correlation coefficients of HSQ scale applied in two week
intervals were, .88 for affiliative humor, .82 for self enhance-
ing humor, .85 for aggressive humor, and .85 for self defeat-
ing humor. In this study, the reliability of the Cronbach alpha
coefficients of HSQ dimensions were .76 for affiliative hu-
mor, .76 for self enhancing, .54 for aggressive humor, and .71
for self defeating humor.
The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (Watson, Clark, &
Tellegen, 1988) consists of two 10-item mood scales and was
developed to provide brief measures of PA and NA. Respon-
dents are asked to rate the extent to which they have experi-
enced each particular emotion within a specified time period,
with reference to a 5-point scale. The scale points are: 1, “very
slightly or not at all”; 2, “a little”; 3, “moderately”; 4, “quite a
bit” and 5, “very much”. PANAS was adapted to Turkish by
Gençöz (2000) and he found the same two factors as positive
and negative. Reliability coefficients for each subscale of the
PANAS were calculated as .83 and .86 and the test retest reli-
ability were .40 and .54, respectively.
Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE) The RSE is a 10-item
scale which is composed of 5 positive and 5 negative expressions.
High scores on the RSE represent high levels of self-esteem.
Turkish adaptation studies were carried out by Çuhadaroğlu
(1986). A 10-item brief RSES rates the global self-worth of
individuals on a 4-point Likert-type scale (1 = strongly disagree
to 4 = strongly agree). Cuhadaroğlu reported test-retest reliabil-
ity coefficients of .71 over a 4-week period. For the construct
validity, she found significant differences between the RSES
scores of normal adolescents and neurotic (p < .05) and psy-
chotic (p < .01) adolescents.
Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, Humor Styles Questionnaire
and The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule were employed
in order to collect the data of the study. The data of the research
was applied to the volunteer students during the class hours at
the psychology department at a 30 - 40 minutes period. In order
to analyze the data the Pearson moments correlation technique
and multiple regression analysis were used. The SPSS 10.0
packagewasused in theanalysis of thedata.
As it is shown on Table 1 it was found that self-esteem was
significantly positively related to affiliative and self-enhancing
humor styles, negatively related to aggressive and self-defeating
humor styles. Results indicating if self-esteem predicts the hu-
mor styles are given on Table 2.
Self-esteem significantly predicted the humor styles sub di-
mensions. Self-esteem explained 3.1% of the total variance in
affiliative humor style, 5.7% of the total variance in self en-
hancing humor style, 1.1% of the total variance in aggressive
humor style, 4.1% of the total variance in self defeating humor
style (Table 3).
As it was shown, self-esteem was significantly positively re-
lated to positive affect and negatively related to negative affect.
The results indicating if self-esteem predicts the positive-negative
affect were given on Table 4.
Correlations betwen self-esteem and humor styles.
Affiliative Self-Enhancing Aggressive Self-Defeating
Self-Esteem .18*** .24*** –.11* –.21***
Note: *p < .05; ***p < .001.
Explanations of humor styles (affiliative, self-enhancing, aggressive,
self-defeating) by self-esteem.
Independent variableR R2 F β t
.176 .031 13.995*** .176 3.741***
.239 .057 26.516*** .239 5.149***
.107 .011 5.062* –.107 –2.250*
.208 .041 19.866*** –.208 –4.457***
Note: *p < .05; ***p < .001; Dependent variable: Humor styles (affiliative, self- enhanc-
ing, aggressive, self-defeating).
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 639
Correlations between Self-esteem and positive-negative affect.
Positive Affect Negative Affect
Self-Esteem .38*** –.20***
Note: ***p < .001.
Explanations of positive-negative affect by self-esteem.
Independent variable R R2 F β t
.384 .147 75.781*** .384 8.705***
Self-esteem .204 .042 19.022*** –.204 4.361***
Note: *p < .05; **p < .01; ***p < .001; Dependent variable: Positive-Negative
Self-esteem significantly predicted the positive and negative
affect. Self-esteem explained 14.7% of the total variance in
positive affect and 4.2% of the total variance in negative affect.
According to the findings of the study there were positive
significant correlations between self-esteem and affiliative and
self-enhancing humor styles, negative correlations between self
esteem and aggressive and self defeating humor styles. Self
esteem is a personal judgment of worthiness and it is a general
personality characteristic (Pervin, 1993). Humor has been con-
ceptualized in a variety of different ways and also it was seen as
a personality trait (Martin, 2001) which have been defined as a
dynamic organization inside the person and the characteristic
pattern of thought, emotion and behavior which makes a person
different or similar to others (Carver & Scheier, 2000; Funder,
1997; Chamorro-Premuzic, 2008). It was found that self-es-
teem significantly predicts the humor styles sub dimensions.
The affiliative humor style has a major effect on facilitating
relationships and reduces interpersonal tensions. According to
Kuiper & McHale (2009) using affiliative humor style would
form one behavioral strategy for increasing interpersonal
closeness. Significantly higher levels of affiliative humor style
predicted significantly higher levels of self esteem and greater
use of self-enhancing humor style would result in increased
self-esteem (Kuiper & McHale, 2009). In a similar fashion self-
enhancing humor style, using humor as a coping strategy and in
emotion regulation may also contribute self-esteem by reducing
the conflict when protecting the self. The two maladaptive hu-
mor styles, aggressive and self-defeating humor are negatively
related to self esteem. Individuals using self-defeating humor style
allow themselves to be the “butt” of jokes in the hopes of gain-
ing others’ approval and acceptance and is used to enhance
relationships with others, but at the expense of positive feelings
about self (Kuiper & Leite, 2010). Using self defeating humor
style these individuals may struggle to increase their self-es-
teem through relationships. Aggressive humor style is tendency
to use humor for the purpose of criticizing or manipulating
others and directed at others to enhance positive feelings about
one’s self which may be a result of lower levels of self-esteem.
Kuiper and Martin’s (1993) study, providing a direct empirical
test of the proposed links between humor and a healthier, more
positive self-concept, supports the results of the current study.
Another finding of the study shows that there was a signify-
cant positive correlation between self-esteem and positive af-
fect and a significant negative correlation between self-esteem
and negative affect. Individuals with lower self-esteem as they
tend to have psychosomatic symptoms, anxiety and depression
(Coopersmith, 1967) are expected to experience negative
affecttion intensively and they are expected to have lower levels
of positive affect. In addition, negative mood is characterized
with such features as being unhappy, angry, hostile and scared,
positive mood characterized with being energetic, strong, stable
and careful (Watson et al., 1988; Gençöz, 2000). Intheirstudy
Kuiperand Mchale (2009) stated that higher levels of affiliative
humor predicted lower levels of depression and this finding
supports the current study. Higher levels of self-enhancing humor
predicted higher levels of social self-esteem and reduced de-
pression. Higher levels of self-defeating humor predicted lower
levels of social self-esteem and higher levels of depresssion.
According to the findings of the study, significant correla-
tions were found between Self-esteem and humor styles and
also positive-negative affect. The results of the study also show
that individuals’ self-esteem is affective both on humor styles
and positive-negative affect. Depending on this, developing
positive self-esteem can positively affect their well-being which
might in turn enhance their interpersonal relationships and have
contributions to healthy communications. The study also shows
that supporting attitudes are important in developing the self-
esteem which is started to be shaped by the first experiences.
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