Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 1163–1178 | Cite as

Emotional Intelligence and Subjective Well-Being in Chinese University Students: The Role of Humor Styles

  • Mingzhu Wang
  • Hong ZouEmail author
  • Wenjuan Zhang
  • Ke Hou
Research Paper


Emotional intelligence has been conceptualized as a constellation of emotional perceptions (trait emotional intelligence) or a set of skills to process emotional-related information (ability emotional intelligence). It has been found that trait emotional intelligence is a more powerful predictor of subjective well-being than is ability emotional intelligence. Although the relationship between trait emotional intelligence and well-being has been well-documented, empirical studies exploring the processes underlying this association are still limited. The present study proposed humor styles as one of the mechanisms that may help explain the relation between trait emotional intelligence and subjective well-being (indexed by life satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect). A total of 462 Chinese college students completed paper-and-pencil measures of the Schutte Emotional Intelligence Scale, the Humor Styles Questionnaire, the Satisfaction with Life Scale, and the Positive Affect and Negative Affect Scale. The structural equation modeling analysis revealed that the positive influences of emotional intelligence on life satisfaction and positive affect were partially explained by students’ tendency to use self-enhancing humor. Meanwhile, the negative relation between emotional intelligence and negative affect was partially explained by their tendency to use self-defeating humor. These results suggest that humor styles represent one of the mechanisms linking emotional intelligence and subjective well-being.


Emotional intelligence Humor styles Subjective well-being Indirect effects 



This research was supported by the MOE Project of Key Research Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences in Universities under Grant 14JJD190003.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mingzhu Wang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Hong Zou
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Wenjuan Zhang
    • 4
  • Ke Hou
    • 5
  1. 1.Faculty of PsychologyBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Institute of Developmental PsychologyBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of Educational PsychologyThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong
  4. 4.Department of Psychology, School of PhilosophyWuhan UniversityWuhanChina
  5. 5.Journal of Beijing Normal UniversityBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

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