Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 155–170 | Cite as

Some observations on humor and laughter in young adolescent girls

  • Rita Ransohoff


Some of the functions of humor and laughter in two groups of young adolescent girls were studied. When humor was successful and giggling and laughter a pleasureful release, the material, spontaneous talk and jokes, resonated with current developmental tasks. Among them were those dealing with bodily changes, early relationships with boys, disguised masturbatory wishes, and ambivalent feelings toward mothers. Some cognitive aspects of joking are examined. Humor worked when frightening words could be reduced to familiar or diminutive ones. Humor failed when content was too “grownup”: when the subject matter stimulated frightening fantasies of male penetration and damage and frightening images of the mature female body or fears of punishment.


Health Psychology Subject Matter Adolescent Girl Female Body Cognitive Aspect 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rita Ransohoff
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryAlbert Einstain College of MedicineBronx
  2. 2.Mental Health Section, Student Health ServiceNew York UniversityNew York

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