Exploring the Interrelationships Among Humor Styles, Attachment Insecurity, Emotion Regulation, and Depressive Experiences



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Sense of humor is often considered a positive coping mechanism for the challenges of daily life. Recent research has shown not all styles of humor are adaptive; some styles are associated with positive indicators of mental health whereas others are associated with negative mental health outcomes like depression. The limited body of research in this area could benefit from a more theory-guided approach (e.g., attachment theory), as it has yielded some mixed findings. Additionally, research on the psychological correlates of humor styles has traditionally focused on unidimensional conceptualizations of depression, and has yet to focus on the possible role of emotion regulation. To address these gaps, the current study examined the interrelationships between adult attachment insecurity, internalized or externalized depressive experiences, humor styles, and dimensions of emotion regulation. Maladaptive humor styles partially mediated the relationship between attachment avoidance and self-criticism, and the relationship between attachment anxiety and dependency-related depression. Additionally, several models indicated that factors of emotion regulation moderated the partial mediation effects of maladaptive humor styles (e.g., cognitive reappraisal moderated the indirect effect of aggressive humor in the relationship between attachment anxiety and dependency). Results have important implications for future research and clinical practice.



Humor, Attachment insecurity, Emotion regulation, Depressive experiences