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Humor Styles, Well-Being, and Family Health
Professor Shahe Kazarian at Haigazian University:
Humor Styles, Well-Being & Family Health

"Sense of humor a day keeps the shrink away", was the opening statement of lecture by Dr. Shahe Kazarian, Chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, and author of 2 books on diversity psychology and law enforcement.

During his lecture delivered at Haigazian University on March 31, 2005, Prof. Kazarian explained humor in 4 contexts: Sense of Humor, Humor Styles, Link between Humor Styles and Personal Well-Being, and the link with Family Health.

According to Kazarian, Humor is multifaceted; the cognitive ability is marked in terms of remembering jokes, the aesthetic response is defined by the degree of appreciating humor & jokes in general, the habitual pattern is when humor becomes a character trait, and finally when humor is used as a coping strategy.

In the same context, Dr. Kazarian introduced the notion of the facilitative hypothesis, which considers the sense of humor as a facilitative agent in daily life, thus enhancing physical, psychological and social well-being.

On Humor Styles, Kazarian stressed on the way humor is used, meaning it can be beneficial to a person's well-being, as well as detrimental, the other extreme.

In elaborating more on the Beneficial Humor Styles, Kazarian highlighted the concept of self-enhancing humor, which means cheering oneself, using humor to cope with stress, and adopting a humorous outlook to life, and the concept of Affiliative Humor explained by joking around, saying witty statements, laughing with an amusing others.

On the other hand, Detrimental Humor can be self-defeating and hostile. This is achieved when humor is used to amuse others at one's expense, to make fun of others, and sometimes to hide other inner feelings. In extreme cases, humor can be offensive and manipulative.

Dr. Kazarian concluded his lecture by relating humor to Family Health. Research conducted in Canada, the AUB, Haigazian University and elsewhere has shown that hostile humor is much strongly correlated with family health than beneficial humor. Criticizing and picking on children could have negative drawbacks on their developments, and in the long run affect their personality.

This interactive and cheerful lecture organized by the Cultural Hour at Haigazian University came after a short break to cheer the audience after the past tragic events that hit Lebanon.


Mira Yardemian
Public Relations Director
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