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Gelotophobia and age: Do disposition towards ridicule and being laughed at predict coping with age-related vulnerabilities?

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Author(s): Tracey Platt | Willibald Ruch

Journal: Psychological Test and Assessment Modeling
ISSN 2190-0493

Volume: 52;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 231;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: age-related problems | gelotophobia | gelotophilia | katagelasticism | ridicule | life span

ABSTRACT
The present study examines how dispositions to ridicule and being laughed at (gelotophobic, gelotophilic or katagelasticistic) assist, or hinder, coping with age-related problems or vulnerabilities. A sample of 131 adult participants completed the PhoPhiKat-30, the PPK-Vulnerability Statement Comparison (PPK-VSC), and the Third Age Vulnerabilities Anxiety Survey (TAVAS). Results showed that the PhoPhiKat-30 is a reliable self-report instrument in its English language form. The dispositions to ridicule and being laughed at (as measured by the PhoPhiKat-30) together with education level and amount of worry about actual or potential problems predicted the nature of the response to the age-related vulnerabilities. People of low education, who generally fear being laughed at but who also ridicule others, and have not experienced many age-related vulnerabilities but worry about them, indicate that they would act gelotophobicly when facing such problems. Gelotophilia, higher education and not experiencing worrying vulnerabilities are predictive of a tendency to make others laugh at ones problems. Katagelasticistism, increased age, no education above compulsory schooling, and a higher number of problems encountered but not worried about relates to laughing at the misfortunes of others. The implications of the results for those interacting with older people are discussed.
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