FSD3257 Gelotophobia, Burnout and Workplace Bullying 2007

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  • Kerkkänen, Paavo


bullying, emotional states, fatigue (physiology), fear, human behaviour, phobias, workplace bullying


The survey charted the prevalence of gelotophobia, the fear of being laughed at, in Finland and its connection to burnout. The survey is part of a larger multi-national study involving 73 countries. The survey utilises many scales developed for measuring humour and burnout. The scales include the Malach-Pines Burnout Measure (BMS), Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI-GS), Coping Humor Styles Questionnaire (CHS), Findlay-Kaufman MSHS humor coping scale, Humor Styles Questionnaire - Aggressive Humor (HSQ - agg) and Findlay-Kaufman MSHS hostile humor scale.

First, the respondents were asked to assess their usual behaviour and attitudes in many different situations where an individual could feel they are being laughed at. The statements presented in the survey charted, for example, whether the respondents got suspicious when others laughed in their presence, did not hold eye contact because of fear of being disparagingly assessed, felt paralyzed when others made joking remarks about them, or avoided a place where they had made an embarrassing impression. Coping with humour was examined with questions relating to, for example, whether the respondents often lost their sense of humour when having problems, looked for something comical to say in tense situations, or used humour to express their feelings. The respondents were also presented with statements concerning aggressive and hostile humour (e.g. whether they used humour to bully and humiliate people they didn't like or used derisive humour to protect themselves from criticism).

Next, the prevalence of different negative emotions in the respondents' everyday life was examined by asking questions on feelings of tiredness and hopelessness (e.g. whether they felt tired, disappointed with people, trapped or depressed). Some questions also surveyed whether the respondents had been the target of mental abuse or bullying. Finally, the prevalence of certain emotions and thoughts connected to work and work days was surveyed. Questions focused on, for example, whether the respondents felt emotionally drained from their work, thought they were good at their job or doubted the significance of their work.

Background variables included the respondent's age, gender, marital status and occupational status, which indicates whether the respondent is in paid employment or not (in paid employment, unemployed, student, pensioner).

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