Modern Psychological Studies
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
Humor is a form of intra-personal and inter-personal communication. Previous scholarship identified the expression of affiliative and self-enhancing humor as beneficial for one’s mental health, whereas aggressive and self-defeating humor can have harmful effects. However, in the African American community, culture specific humor, which often includes aggressive elements, has historically aided in coping with racism, oppression, and social inequality. Similarly, strong racial identification can mediate the detrimental outcomes of negative social experiences. This study evaluates the relationship between black racial identity and the aforementioned humor styles, with a focus on aggressive humor. For this correlational study, 63 African American participants from Brooklyn were recruited and classified into two racial identity groups (Pre-Encounter and Advanced Stage), using the Cross Racial Identity Scale (CRIS). Their general humor expression were measured with the Humor Styles Questionnaire (HSQ), as well as their enjoyment and perception of African American comedy video clips. MANOVA analysis revealed that Pre-Encounter individuals use all four humor domains significantly less than Advanced Stage persons, with the strongest discrepancy for aggressive humor. In addition, Pre-Encounter individuals also enjoy aggressive comedy video clips significantly less than the Advanced Stage group, and rate this comedy as less affiliative and self-enhancing, but more aggressive and self-defeating. These findings suggest that racial identity characteristics are reflected in one’s humor expression and that aggressive humor can have more beneficial psychological outcomes for blacks than generally assumed.
BF1 .M63 v. 22 no. 2 2017
"The relationship of black racial identity and aggressive humor,"
Modern Psychological Studies: Vol. 22:
2, Article 6.
Available at: https://scholar.utc.edu/mps/vol22/iss2/6