Humor, Loneliness and Interpersonal Communication: A Quantitative Study of Romanian Older Adults
This quantitative study examines the correlations between humor, loneliness, gender and aging by presenting the results from a sample of eighty-three older Romanian adults, aged sixty and above. The first section of the paper is a comprehensive review of the social-psychological literature on aging, gender and humor. The second section assesses the findings generated from a study that uses the Multidimensional Sense of Humor Scale (Thorson & Powell, 1993) and the Social and Emotional Loneliness Scale for Adults – short version, (diTomaso, Brannen & Best, 2004). Building on Robert Weiss’s (1973) reflections on the differences between feelings of loneliness because of social isolation or emotional isolation, the research findings nuance –and in some cases challenge several assumptions on gender, age, and emotional and social loneliness. The findings also point to the correlation between feelings of social loneliness and the use of humor in interpersonal communications. The data collected suggests that while Romanian men may value the use of humor more than women when self-reporting, that older Romanian women tend to use humor in interpersonal situations and that there is a significant correlation between the use of this type of humor and a reduced sense of social loneliness.
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