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The Role of Coping Humour in the Physical and Mental Health of Older Adults


  • Elsa Marziali
  • Lynn McDonald
  • Peter Donahue


Objectives - This study examined the associations among coping humor, other personal/social factors, and the health status of community-dwelling older adults. Method - Survey questionnaires were completed with 73 community dwelling older adults. Included were measures of coping humor, spirituality, self-efficacy, social support and physical and mental health status. Results - Correlations across all variables showed coping humor to be significantly associated with social support, self-efficacy, depression, and anxiety. Forward stepwise regression analyses showed that coping humor and self-efficacy contributed to outcome variance in measures of mental health status. Contrary to expectation, neither social support nor spirituality contributed to the total outcome variance on any of the dependant measures. Conclusion - The importance of spirituality, self-efficacy and social support in determining the quality of life of older adults is well supported in the literature. Coping humor as a mechanism for managing the inevitable health stresses of aging has received less attention. This study shows that coping humor and self efficacy are important factors for explaining health status in older adults. Correlations among coping humor, self efficacy, and social support suggest that a sense of humor may play an important role in reinforcing self-efficacious approaches to the management of health issues.

Suggested Citation

  • Elsa Marziali & Lynn McDonald & Peter Donahue, 2007. "The Role of Coping Humour in the Physical and Mental Health of Older Adults," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 225, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:225

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    coping humor; aging; health status;

    JEL classification:

    • I19 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Other

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