Saturday, April 14 • 9:00am - 10:00am
Willibald Ruch: Humor and Resilience: Zurich Studies

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There are many myths (or yet untested hypotheses; scientifically unproven hypotheses) on humor. The aim of psychologists studying humor in research is to test those myths and find their “kernel of truth”. One of those myths is the notion that humor increases resilience.

Here, one first needs to make a couple of distinctions: First, what is meant by humor? Which aspects of humor would increase resilience? Second, what is meant by resilience? Would humor be able to impact on subjective well-being or even physical parameters (like the immune system)? While many practitioners would approve the value of humor in resilience, very few methodologically sound studies have addressed these questions from a scientific point of view.

The current talk will first address the definition aspects and considerations and present some empirical results on humor and well-being. Then, “hot results” from studies that are currently run (or have been finished earlier this year) at the University of Zurich will be presented, showing the relationships between different aspects of humor and different facets that constitute resilience. In an ongoing comprehensive longitudinal study, we accompanied more than 3800 people during their everyday and professional life over the course of five years.

By this means, we were able to trace both major uplifts as well as threatening hassles and observed how different people deal with obstacles in their private life or in their career. We could show that people who describe themselves as humorous not only report higher levels in well-being and self-efficacy, in general, but also manage major hassles like unemployment more efficiently. Humorous people are more capable to deal with adversities like incivility and discrimination at the workplace, and job insecurity while still maintaining a high level in well-being and a low level in stress. These results further underscore the protective function of humor in every area of the daily life.

avatar for Willibald Ruch

Willibald Ruch

Professor of Psychology, Zurich University
Willibald Ruch is Professor of Psychology and chair of the section of personality and assessment at the University of Zürich, Switzerland. Recently he studied humor from the perspective of positive psychology, the effectiveness of humor training programs and clown interventions... Read More →

Saturday April 14, 2018 9:00am - 10:00am
Bayside Ballroom Holiday Inn San Diego Bayside 4875 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92106

Attendees (25)