Chinese teachers' use of humour in coping with stress

Joseph Wu*, Raymond M C CHAN

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to examine the mentality of Chinese teachers regarding their use of humour in coping with stress. Specifically, the study investigated their frequency of use of humour in coping with stress as compared to other coping styles and their perceptions about the relationship of humour with other coping styles. Data were collected from a sample of 789 Chinese teachers holding teaching posts at local Hong Kong secondary schools. Based on responses made to the COPE questionnaire, there was evidence that Chinese teachers had a lower frequency of use of humour as compared to other coping styles. As suggested by the results of a factor analysis, there was a perception among Chinese teachers that the use of humour was related more closely to escaping and/or avoidance as coping strategies, but more differentiable from problem-focused/task-oriented and emotional/social coping. It is interesting to find that the results of our study echoed those of a previous crosscultural comparison between Chinese and Canadian university students, in which the Chinese university students reported less use of humour in coping with stress than did their Canadian counterparts. These results have provided some empirical support for the notion that "humor has been traditionally given little respect in Chinese culture mainly due to the Confucian emphasis on keeping proper manners in social interactions" (Yue, 2010, p. 403). As teachers in Chinese societies are regarded as persons who are full of wisdom and capable of problem-solving, it is expected that they should act as role models to their students. These social expectations on Chinese teachers could further mould their perceptions on the use of humour in coping with stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1050-1056
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Chinese teacher
  • Coping
  • Humour


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