The Relationship Between Peer Victimization and Children's Humor Styles: It's No Laughing Matter!

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This study assessed the concurrent and prospective (fall to spring) associations between peer victimization and four humor styles, two of which are adaptive (affiliative and self-enhancing) and two maladaptive (aggressive and self-defeating). Participants were 1234 adolescents (52 percent female) aged 11–13 years, drawn from six secondary schools in England. Self-reports and peer reports of peer victimization were collected, as were self-reports of humor styles. In cross-sectional analyses, peer victimization was associated with all four humor styles, most strongly with self-defeating and affiliative humor. Across the school year, peer victimization was associated with an increase in self-defeating humor and a decrease in affiliative humor (and vice-versa). These results have implications for models of humor development and how we understand the continuity of peer victimization.

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