The purpose of this study was to provide a longitudinal prospective test of the hypothesis that a greater sense of humor would predict better physical health and workplace well-being over a three-year period, using a variety of physiological and other indicators of health. Data were obtained from 34 Finnish police chiefs in both 1995 and 1998, including self-report and peer ratings of sense of humor; measures of blood pressure, cholesterol levels, alcohol consumption, body mass index, and smoking; and self-report measures of work capacity, burnout, stress, and workplace satisfaction. Primary analyses provided no evidence in support of the humor-health hypothesis, as sense of humor scores obtained in 1995 failed to predict any of the 1998 levels of physical health and workplace well-being. Further analyses, including data on an additional sample of 53 Finnish police constables, revealed some associations that were contrary to the humor-health hypothesis (e.g., higher scores on some aspects of sense of humor were associated with greater body mass, increased smoking, and greater risk of cardiovascular disease). These findings are discussed in terms of the continued popularity of the humor-health hypothesis, despite the lack of substantial empirical support, and the need for more sophisticated conceptualizations of
Humor: International Journal of Humor Research – de Gruyter
Published: Mar 3, 2004
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