Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Communication Studies

Committee Chair

Melanie Booth Butterfield


Humor is an important aspect of interpersonal interactions as it is linked to the development and maintenance of relationships (Merolla, 2006). The purpose of this dissertation was to test the effect of a humor communication skills training program on the ability to minimize anti-social humor (i.e., aggressive, self-defeating) and enhance pro-social humor (i.e., affiliative, self-enhancing) in interpersonal interactions. Working from the framework of Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura, 1986, 2001), the effect of the humor skills training on self-efficacy, motivation, positive and negative humor use, and cognitive learning were also examined. Data were collected at baseline, post-training, and at a two week follow-up for the comparison group (n = 149) and treatment group (n = 152). Generally, results indicated that participants in the humor skills training group reported improving in self-enhancing humor, self-efficacy, and cognitive learning, upon completion of the final training session. However, they did not improve in affiliative humor, anti-social humor styles, motivation, or positive humor use. Furthermore, those that completed humor skills training maintained higher levels of self-enhancing humor, self-efficacy, and cognitive learning, two weeks after the final training session. Therefore, humor skills training can influence behavioral change, and this investigation provides a strong starting point for future exploration of the effect of humor skills training in the interpersonal communication context.