Understanding the role of humour in the relationship between emotional intelligence and psychological well-being among university students: A mixed methods study

Xing, Rong (2023) Understanding the role of humour in the relationship between emotional intelligence and psychological well-being among university students: A mixed methods study. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Psychological well-being is feeling good and functioning effectively, and absence of distress. Emotional intelligence (EI) involves competencies in perceiving, understanding, processing, and managing emotions. Although many studies demonstrate the relationship between EI and psychological well-being, underlying mechanisms are unclear. Humour is a potential mediator in the relationship. This systematic review and mixed methods study, explored the role of humour in the relationship between EI and psychological well-being among university students. The systematic review examined existing evidence about the relationship between EI and humour styles. Results based on 10 studies indicated that EI was regularly and positively associated with adaptive humour styles and negatively associated in some studies with maladaptive humour. Trait EI (i.e., viewing EI as a personality trait) showed broader associations with humour styles than ability EI (i.e., viewing EI as a cognitive ability). Self-enhancing humour (i.e., a humorous perspective and a coping strategy towards adversity) showed the most consistent relationship with both ability and trait EI. Trait EI assessed by the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire showed broad, and small to medium correlations with humour styles, and was used for the quantitative study which examined the mediating role of humour styles between trait EI and well-being, and distress. Partial least squares structural equation modelling (N = 536) found self-enhancing humour mediated the relationship between trait EI and positive affect; self- defeating humour (i.e., amusing others at the expense of self) mediated the relationship between trait EI and negative affect, anxiety, and depression, separately; and affiliative humour (i.e., amusing others to improve relationships and reduce tensions) mediated the relationship between trait EI and anxiety. Qualitative semi-structured interviews (N = 16) explored the role of humour in self-managing psychological well-being among UK/EU and international students with diverse EI levels. Themes were: meaning of psychological well- being; functions of humour, and; self-managing psychological well-being. Humour was more likely to function unconsciously in real life. Humour styles are one of the mechanisms underlying the association between EI and psychological well-being, supporting the hypothesis in the Affective Mediation Model and suggesting potential interventions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > General Practice and Primary Care
Supervisor's Name: Williamson, Prof. Andrea and Morrison, Prof. Jill
Date of Award: 2023
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2023-83870
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2023 09:34
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2023 10:24
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83870
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/83870

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