Changes in the Sense of Humor in Patients with Affective Disorders: “Deficit”, “Pathological Defense”, “Mask”

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Abstract

Relevance. The present article provides an analysis of changes in the sense of humor in patients with affective disorders. The necessity of this research is due to the emergence of new findings and the insufficient systematization of the scientific data in this field, despite the fact that methods of psychosocial rehabilitation using humor and laughter are being actively developed. The present research is aimed at summarizing and systematizing existing data on the characteristics of the sense of humor in patients with affective disorders. Results. Three theoretical approaches to understanding the specifics of humor’s changes in patients with affective disorders are proposed: «deficit», «pathological defense» and «mask». The «deficit» model describes humor’s characteristics accompanying depressive syndrome. The ones in the foreground are: a decreased affective response to humor, a reduced tendency to engage in humorous interaction with others and to use humor as a coping strategy. In manic and hypomanic states, humor functions as a «pathological defense», blocking negative emotions and stimulating positive ones. In «smiling» depression, the meaning of smiling and laughter can be characterized as a «mask»: their main goal here is to reduce the significance or to hide completely a patient’s inner feelings from others. Also, affective disorders are accompanied by an increased interest in depressive humor. Presumably, it functions as a compensation for a decrease in the use of humor in general as an emotion regulation strategy. Conclusions. Changes in the sense of humor in patients with affective disorders are heterogeneous. Understanding their specifics may be used to improve modern psychosocial therapy programs focused on humor interventions and techniques. It may also be used as an additional diagnostic tool.

General Information

Keywords: affective disorders, depression, mania, smiling depression, humor, depressive humor, memes, emotion regulation

Journal rubric: Research Reviews

Article type: scientific article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/cpp.2024320103

Received: 22.10.2023

Accepted:

For citation: Govorov S.A., Ivanova E.M. Changes in the Sense of Humor in Patients with Affective Disorders: “Deficit”, “Pathological Defense”, “Mask”. Konsul'tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya = Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy, 2024. Vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 58–78. DOI: 10.17759/cpp.2024320103. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)

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Information About the Authors

Stanislav A. Govorov, PhD student, Department of Medical Psychology, Mental Health Research Center, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1799-9944, e-mail: stsgovorov@hotmail.com

Elena M. Ivanova, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Department of Clinical Psychology, Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, Senior Researcher, Mental Health Research Center, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3616-9444, e-mail: ivalenka13@gmail.com

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