Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychological Science (MSPS)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Jody Nicholson

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul Fuglestad


Humor is known to be an effective coping strategy due to its stress-reducing capabilities (Overholser, 1992; Peterson & Seligman, 2004). However, more recent research into humor has revealed it can also lead to increased levels of stress (Fritz et al., 2017; Martin et al., 2003). Extraverts tend to have positive emotions and are better able to cope with stressful emotions (Ford et al., 2016). However, individuals higher in neuroticism are more likely to engage in maladaptive types of coping strategies and humor (Greengross et al., 2011), putting them at a higher risk for increased stress levels. The current research utilized a two-study design to further explore the relation between personality factors and perceived stress by examining whether humor mediates this association. In Study 1, 342 undergraduate students completed personality, coping humor, and stress measures. Contrary to the hypothesis, coping humor did not significantly mediate personality and perceived stress. Study 2 extended these findings by examining four humor styles as mediators in 311 undergraduate students. The link between extraversion and stress was mediated by affiliative and self-enhancing humor, where affiliative humor led to increased stress, and self-enhancing humor led to decreased stress. The relation between neuroticism and perceived stress was mediated by self-enhancing and self-defeating humor, where decreased use of self-enhancing humor and increased use of self-defeating humor led to increased stress levels. These findings demonstrate how using humor to cope with stress can be vary for individuals who differ on personality dimensions.