Humour Styles Questionnaire [HSQ]

Complete the Humour Styles Questionnaire (HSQ) below to find out what humour style you have. 


This Humour Styles Questionnaire was originally created by Martin et al. (2003)
and it has been reproduced/adapted for this website for non-commercial use.

More Information About the Humour Styles Questionnaire


The Four Humour Styles

If you would like to find out more about the four humour styles: Affiliative humour; Self-Enhancing Humour; Aggressive Humour; Self-Defeating Humour, as proposed by Martin et al. (2003), I would recommend you read this article.

Summary of the Four Humour Styles

Affiliative Humour Style

People who score highly for Affiliative Humour have a tendency to share humour with others, tell jokes and funny stories, amuse others, make others laugh and enjoy laughing along with others.

Self-Enhancing Humour Style

People who score highly for Self-Enhancing Humour have a tendency to maintain a humorous outlook on life even when not with others, use humour in coping with stress, cheer oneself up with humour.

Aggressive Humour Style

People who score highly for Aggressive Humour have a tendency to use humour to disparage, put down, or manipulate others; use of ridicule, offensive humour, compulsive expression of humour even when inappropriate.

Self-Defeating Humour Style

People who score highly for Self-Defeating Humour have a tendency to amuse others at one’s own expense, self-disparaging humour; laughing along with others when being ridiculed or put down; using humour to hide one’s true feelings from self or others.

More About The Humour Styles Questionnaire

The Humour Styles Questionnaire (HSQ) was created by Martin et al. in 2003. 

It aims to measure individual differences in styles of humour, and humour has been shown to be a stable personality trait which is consistent over time. 

Humour styles are different between individuals and Martin’s research explored the outcomes of different styles of humour and how they influence factors such as health, well-being and relationships. 

The Humour Styles Questionnaire is a 32-item self report inventory which identifies how the person completing the questionnaire uses humour in the everyday life.

Participants are asked to agree or disagree with a series of statements and are given a 7 point scale (ranging from totally agree to totally disagree). 

The questionnaire measures the use of humour against two main factors:

  1. Whether humour is used to enhance the self or enhance relationships with others. 
  2. Whether the humour is benign or detrimental to others or self. 

The combination of these factors creates a matrix containing four humour styles:

  1. Affiliative 
  2. Self-Enhancing
  3. Aggressive
  4. Self-Defeating

How these humour styles are situated on this matrix is presented in the graph below.

Graph Showing The 4 Humour Styles

Humour Styles Questionnaire and Reliability

Although the Humour Styles Questionnaire is commonly used and referenced within the humour literature, there are some question marks over its reliability.

When the Humour Styles Questionnaire was assessed in its original language (German) the internal consistency was an alpha over 0.77 for all items.

Most of the humour styles tested fairly well however the ‘aggressive’ humour scale produced the lowest internal consistency values.

Also, the original version of the Humour Styles Questionnaire was written in German, so when it was translated into other languages, such as English, it has been seen to generate test items that are more varied.

When Taher et al. (2008) assessed the questionnaire following translation, the internal consistency alpha varied from 0.55 (aggressive) to 0.89 (self-enhancing).

In another study, conducted by Bilge and Saltuk (2007), similar variations were found: 0.67 (self-defeating) to 0.78 (self-enhancing). 

Humour Styles Questionnaire (HSQ)