Phenomenological processes underlying coping humour.


Phillipson, Polly 2001. Phenomenological processes underlying coping humour. Thesis University of East London
AuthorsPhillipson, Polly

In Comparison to other psychological topics, research into humour is relatively limited,
despite humour being a ubiquitous phenomenon and an important coping tool. The few
studies that have been performed have mainly adopted the approach of quantifying humour
using psychometric measures. The inconsistent findings of these studies prompted the
starting point of this thesis, which replicates a study testing the stress moderating effects of
humour according to various psychometric measures. This replication, which produced nonsignificant
results, raised important questions on the effectiveness of this methodology and
initiated a shift from a positivist to a constructivist paradigm, which subsequently shaped the
focus of the thesis.
The thesis presents a study of people's use of humour as a means of coping with stress
and difficulty, using reversal theory as a conceptual framework. The intention was to
generate a deeper and more coherent understanding of the processes underlying coping
humour and to work towards developing a theory of coping humour based on experiential
evidence. The method of approach was an empirical, qualitative investigation and analysis
within a constructivist paradigm. The main data presented are interviews in which the
discussion of coping humour experiences was encouraged.
A repeated content analysis, guided by the principles of grounded theory, was essential
in uncovering layers of meaning in the phenomenological data. This led to an interpretative
account of coping humour, expressed in the form of a model. The model of coping humour
contains six dynamically interacting elements, which offer a criterion for coping humour to
work effectively. The model's constituent elements expand existing theories of humour by
giving them greater depth and coherence. Furthermore, the model can operate as an
interpretative framework, accommodating the unique variation of each episode of coping
The main contribution of this thesis is to provide a model of coping humour that offers a
working theory substantiated by experiential evidence that is both generative and evolving.
A further contribution is to highlight weaknesses within current measures of humour, and to
offer suggestions for improvement based on the more realistic and meaningful portrayal of
humour that has been generated.

Keywordshumour; theoretical basis; coping strategies
Web address (URL)
File Access Level
Registered users only
Publication dates
Publication process dates
Deposited11 May 2011
Additional information

This thesis supplied via ROAR to UEL-registered users is protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights, and duplication of any part of the material is not permitted, except for your personal use for the purposes of non-commercial research and private study in electronic or print form. You must obtain permission from the copyright-holder for any other use. Electronic or print copies may not be offered, for sale or otherwise, to anyone. No quotation from the thesis may be published without proper acknowledgement.

Permalink -

  • 49
    total views
  • 0
    total downloads
  • 0
    views this month
  • 0
    downloads this month

Export as