Child & Youth Care Forum

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 543–569 | Cite as

Effects of Classroom Humor Climate and Acceptance of Humor Messages on Adolescents’ Expressions of Humor

  • Yi-Chen Chiang
  • Chun-Yang Lee
  • Hong-Huei Wang
Original Paper



To adapt to dramatic changes from physical growth, physical development and the increasing demand of significant others, humor has been found to be an effective coping strategy. However, previous studies have found that adolescents start to express their humor styles with aggressive components which causes negative consequences, such as social anxiety and social loneliness. Therefore, the factors that influence adolescents’ humor styles, particularly negative ones, should be of concern.


The purpose of this study was twofold: (1) to investigate the effects of the classroom humor climate and the effects of the personal acceptance of humor messages on adolescents’ expressions of humor and (2) to examine how the personal acceptance of humor messages moderates these relationships.


Four types of humor expressions based on the Taiwan Adolescent Humor Instruments were measured: self-deprecating, other-devaluing, body language, and witty response (Chiang et al. in Psychol Test 58:179–205, 2011). The current study used a cross-sectional design with data from a nationally representative random sample of 1718 students. The data were analyzed using hierarchical linear modeling.


Adolescents’ acceptance of humor messages influenced their use of each type of humor, and the classroom climate also modestly influenced their use of humor. When the classroom climate favored self-deprecating/other-devaluing humor, and adolescents more positively accepted self-deprecating/other-devaluing humor, they engaged in more of that type of humor.


Adolescents’ acceptance of humor messages should be assessed to identify and reduce maladaptive humor climates and to facilitate a more positive humor style in the classroom by promoting appropriate social norms.


Classroom climate Acceptance of humor Expression of humor 



The study carried out an analysis of part of the 2007 data from the National Science Council supported (NSC96-2516-S-002-013-MY3). We would like to thank the 20 participating schools for providing venues and time for the survey, the students and their parents who were involved in the survey for their support, and the interviewers and supervisors that helped carry out the survey. Hsueh-Chih Chen is also acknowledged for his helpful comments on an earlier draft.

Author Contributions

HHW and CYL conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, conducted the statistical analyses, and drafted the manuscript; YCC supervised the study, assisted in data interpretation, and critically reviewed the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Human Subjects Approval Statement

This study was approved by the institutional review board of the College of Public Health of National Taiwan University.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yi-Chen Chiang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chun-Yang Lee
    • 3
  • Hong-Huei Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Public HealthChung Shan Medical UniversityTaichung CityTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Family and Community MedicineChung Shan Medical University HospitalTaichung CityTaiwan
  3. 3.School of ManagementPutian UniversityPutianChina

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