Comic relief: examining the protective effects of coping humour on workplace stressors in human services
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Higher Diploma in Arts in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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The use of coping humour in high-stress occupations has been identified as key in the avoidance of burnout (Figley, 2002, p. 139). This study used a mixed method approach to examine how human services professionals, e.g. nurses, social care workers etc., use humour as a “buffer” against burnout. Snowball and purposive sampling was used to recruit 164 participants. The study found that certain humour styles and positive psychological traits such as optimism support coping, enhance workplace relationships and can contribute to wellbeing and life satisfaction. Further, findings demonstrate that female participants used humour to improve group cohesion, whereas males used it to make themselves feel better but sometimes at the expense of others. Although little research has been carried out into humour and aging, this study found that older participants used less affiliative or relationship-enhancing humour in the workplace but are more satisfied with life than their younger counterparts.