Male adolescents' perceptions of humor: A phenomenological study




Tansey, Mary Kay

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This study sought to describe the fundamental structure of humor in healthy Anglo male adolescents. A psychological phenomenological analysis using an alteration of Giorgi's (1985) methodology was conducted on transcriptions of narrated personal humor meanings and lived experiences of humor. An open-ended taped-recorded interview method was used to obtain the spontaneous descriptions of personal humor meanings and lived experiences of humor.

The purpose sample consisted of six healthy Anglo male adolescents. Each described what humor meant to him and gave lived recalled experiences of humor. These descriptions yielded six personal humor meanings and 13 protocols of lived experiences.

Three domains of data were identified as behavioral, cognitive, and emotional. Humor was found to be an expression produced when an individual cognitively perceives amusement stimulated by an incongruity or absurdity in the ordinary pattern of life. The amusement usually results in a behavioral expression of physically smiling and/or laughing. Humor is an emotional release of tension and anxiety.

Results of the study indicate that nurses should be aware of what events may develop into a humorous situation. A nurse who understands the general structure of humor may use the phenomenon in a therapeutic manner when providing care to adolescent male individuals.



Humor, Therapeutic measurement, Male adolescents