Research Abstract

Albertson Owens, S. A., Eisner, S. B., & Cox, B. K. (1999, November). Humor and spirituality as predictors of life satisfaction in younger and older adults. Poster session presented at the meeting of the Gerontological Society of Aging Conference, San Francisco, CA.

Humor may enhance mood, change one’s perspective in a stressful situation, and even encourage socially supportive relationships that may buffer the individual during difficult life events. Recent evidence has suggested a positive relation between humor and well being. Likewise, much attention has been given recently to the positive benefits that one’s spirituality may have on well being. We examined the relation between both the uses of humor and the use of spirituality and life satisfaction in 224 younger adults (18-35 years) and 223 older adults (60-95 years). We expected that both humor and spirituality would be positively related to life satisfaction for both age groups. All participants were healthy community dwelling volunteers who were interviewed about their use of humor and spirituality to cope with difficult life events. The Coping Humor Scale and the Spiritual Well Being Scale were included. Participants were also queried about health and life satisfaction. We found no age differences on reports of health, life satisfaction, the use of humor to cope and spirituality. Collapsing across age then we found a positive and statistically significant relation between both the use of humor to cope and life satisfaction and the use of spirituality and life satisfaction. Descriptions of these coping strategies are included. These results may be interesting to individuals who are providing supportive services to older adults.