Aggression at work is an expensive and widespread problem. While a large body of research has studied its antecedents and consequences, few studies have examined what victims can do to help mitigate the damage once it has occurred. Many practitioners and scholars have suggested that workers seek out humor to help them deal with the impact of stressors such as aggression, but little is known about whether humor can actually help victims deal with the psychological damage caused by aggression in the workplace. This paper presents a programmatic series of four experimental studies that examine whether and how exposure to humorous stimuli improves well-being among victims of interpersonal aggression by integrating the superiority theory of humor with Lazarus and Folkman’s transactional model of stress and coping. Study 1 (N = 84 students) showed that exposure to humor had a positive effect on well-being in a sample based in the Philippines. Consistent with theoretical prescrip- tions from the superiority theory of humor, this effect was mediated by increased momentary sense of power. Study 2 (N =205 students) found the same positive effects of humor exposure on well-being in a sample based in Australia even when manipu- lating perpetrator power. These
Journal of Business and Psychology – Springer Journals
Published: May 30, 2018
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