Gender differences in humour styles of young adolescents: Empathy as a mediator

Ching Lin Wu, Hsin Yi Lin, Hsueh Chih Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Humour has its positive and negative features; negative humour leads to tension between two people. Moreover, there are gender differences in the use of humour. Previous research has demonstrated that males tend to prefer unfriendly humour. Aggressive behaviours are predicable by the level of empathy and may mediate the use of humour by males and females. To address this issue, the present study recruited 431 adolescents and used the Interpersonal Reactivity Inventory and the Humor Styles Questionnaire. We found that males prefer to use aggressive and self-enhancing humour, whereas females have more empathy; the perspective-taking and empathic concern are positively correlated to positive humour styles but are negatively correlated to negative humour styles. The perspective-taking and empathic concern serve to mediate the relation between gender and humour styles. In particular, empathic concern is the mediator of gender and aggressive humour, and perspective-taking is the mediator of gender and the other three humour styles. Aggressive humour is highly related to one's ability to receive the suffering of others, whereas using the three humour styles is related to whether one can perceive or identify with another's viewpoint. The present study helps us to understand why males prefer unfriendly humour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-143
Number of pages5
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Sept 1


  • Empathy
  • Gender
  • Humour styles
  • Mediator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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