Ridicule and being laughed at in the family: Gelotophobia, gelotophilia, and katagelasticism in young children and their parents

René T. Proyer, Monica Neukom
Published Online:
05 Feb 2014
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 48 Issue 6

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The fear of being laughed at (gelotophobia), the joy of being laughed at (gelotophilia), and the joy of laughing at others (katagelasticism) were tested in a sample of 189 7‐ and 8‐year‐olds and their parents (185 mothers, 160 fathers). The dispositions were widely unrelated in the full sample. There was a positive relation between girls' and mothers' katagelasticism as well as between the 7‐year‐old boys' katagelasticism and their parents' gelotophilia. Furthermore, the 8‐year‐old boys' fear of being laughed at correlated robustly positively with their parents' gelotophobia and their gelotophilia with their parents' katagelasticism. Similarities/dissimilarities in the parental expression in the dispositions had no impact on the scores in the children. The findings are different from relations reported for parents and their adult children. The study provides ground for further studies on how families deal with ridicule and being laughed at.

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