Humor Use in romantic relationships: The effects of relationship satisfaction and pleasant versus conflict situations

  • Butzer B
  • Kuiper N
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In this study, the authors explored the use of positive, negative, and avoiding humor in 2 types of situations by individuals in romantic relationships. Participants (N = 154) rated their frequency of humor use in either a typical conflict scenario with their partner or a typical pleasant event. Participants also indicated their overall degree of romantic relationship satisfaction. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that individuals who were more satisfied with their relationship reported higher levels of positive humor use and lower levels of negative and avoiding humor use. Furthermore, lower levels of negative and avoiding humor use were reported for the conflict situation. Last, a significant 2-way interaction revealed that individuals who were high in relationship satisfaction reported significantly lower levels of negative humor use in a conflict situation as compared with a pleasant encounter. In contrast, individuals who were low in relationship satisfaction reported the same high levels of negative humor use regardless of whether they were in a conflict situation or a pleasant encounter. The authors discuss these findings in terms of the need for further research to clearly delineate the factors that may influence the complex use of humor in romantic relationships.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Conflicts
  • Humor
  • Pleasant events
  • Relationship satisfaction
  • Romantic relationships

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  • Bethany Butzer

  • Nicholas A. Kuiper

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