Original Paper

Child Psychiatry and Human Development

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 255-271

First online:

Adolescent Humor and its Relationship to Coping, Defense Strategies, Psychological Distress, and Well-Being

  • Sarah J. EricksonAffiliated withPsychology Department, Logan Hall, University of New Mexico Email author 
  • , Sarah W. FeldsteinAffiliated withUniversity of New Mexico

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This study investigated the psychometric properties of the Humor Styles Questionnaire (HSQ) in measuring adolescent humor, including the relationship between humor and coping style, defense style, depressive symptoms, and adjustment in a non-clinical sample of adolescents.


Humor, coping, defense strategies, depressive symptoms, and adjustment were investigated in 94 adolescents aged 12–15.


The HSQ demonstrated adequate internal consistency. Inter-scale correlational patterns and scale means were similar for adolescents and adults. Convergent validity for the HSQ was supported by its relationship to: an adolescent-standardized humor defense scale; coping and defense strategies; and depressive symptoms and adjustment. Clinical utility of the HSQ was demonstrated by its unique contribution in predicting both depressive symptoms and adjustment above and beyond contributions from coping and defense composites.


The HSQ appears to be a psychometrically sound and clinically useful measure to assess humor dimensions in adolescents.


Adolescence Humor Coping Defenses Depressive symptoms Adjustment Positive psychology