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Self-Defeating Humor Style Scale

Do you always make yourself the punchline of your jokes? Discover if you have a 'self-defeating humor style' and if it's time to embrace a more self-affirming comedic routine.

Mark Travers, Ph.D.

By Mark Travers, Ph.D. | January 08, 2024

Of all the existing senses of humor, self-defeating humor stands as a distinct humor style, characterized by self-deprecation and irony. This style involves making oneself the butt of the joke, using humor as a shield to mask underlying insecurities or negative feelings. It's a nuanced form of wit that may elicit laughter, but can also raise questions about the emotional well-being of the comedian. Self-defeating humor is a reflection of the interplay between comedy and self-perception, where the laughter often comes with a touch of vulnerability.

Identifying your self-defeating humor style aids in recognizing the potential impact of humor on your emotional landscape. While self-deprecating jokes can provide momentary amusement, they may also hint at underlying feelings of inadequacy or a need for external validation. Acknowledging and understanding self-defeating humor is a crucial step in navigating one's emotional well-being and fostering a more constructive relationship with humor.

The Humor Style Questionnaire navigates the depths of self-defeating humor and its three counterparts: self-enhancing, affiliative and aggressive humor. This engaging questionnaire acts as a tool for self-discovery, offering valuable insights into how our sense of humor shapes the way we perceive ourselves, others and life. By delving into the questionnaire, individuals gain awareness of their self-defeating humor tendencies, opening the door to a more self-compassionate and thoughtful approach to comedy.

You can take this test here. Please follow all of the steps to receive your results.

Step 1: Rate the following statements based on how much you agree with them on a scale of strongly disagree to strongly agree.

Step 2: Enter your age, gender, region, and first name so we can provide you with a detailed report that compares your test scores to people similar to you.

Step 3: Check to make sure you've provided answers to all of the statements/questions above. Once you've done that, click the button below to send your responses to Awake Therapy's Lead Psychologist, Mark Travers, Ph.D. He will provide you with an overview of how you scored relative to others (all answers are anonymized and confidential to protect users' privacy). He can also answer any follow-up questions you may have.

References: Martin, R. A., Puhlik-Doris, P., Larsen, G., Gray, J., & Weir, K. (2003). Individual differences in uses of humor and their relation to psychological well-being: Development of the Humor Styles Questionnaire. Journal of Research in Personality, (2003)37. 48-75. doi:S0092-6566(02)00534-2

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