Interaction of humor and gender in moderating relationships between stress and outcomes

J Psychol. 1998 May;132(3):267-76. doi: 10.1080/00223989809599166.


This study is an examination of the interaction of humor and gender in moderating relationships among perceived stress, anxiety, and physical symptoms. Introductory psychology students (70 women, 61 men) completed self-report scales measuring perceived stress, humor, and symptomology. Multiple regression analyses revealed a moderating effect for humor between stress and anxiety, but only for men. When humor was low, a positive relationship was obtained between stress and anxiety; no relationship existed when humor was high. No gender differences were found in the significant moderating effect of humor between stress and physical symptoms. When humor was low, stress was related to physical symptoms; no relationship was found when humor was high. Overall, the findings supported humor as a moderator of stress; gender differences also existed for some outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sex Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Wit and Humor as Topic / psychology*