Thanks for Humoring Me

I am tired of being asked to fill out surveys. I can’t call my insurance company, book a flight, stay in a hotel, or eat in a restaurant without being asked to fill out a survey. I have survey fatigue. I suspect you do as well. With that in mind, my colleagues and I offer our sincerest thanks to those of you who participated in our survey on humor and diabetes. Better than just our thanks though, we thought you might be interested in what we found. I am a believer that getting feedback, ANY feedback, reduces survey fatigue.

You might remember my article Laughter is the Best Medicine (Unless You Have Diabetes and Then Insulin Is Probably Better). If you don’t, throw me a bone and tell me you loved it anyway. I promise, there won’t be a quiz. Our studies were then designed to continue to examine the relationship between humor and diabetes. Simply, we looked at an average A1c score and the Humor Styles Questionnaire (HSQ). The HSQ breaks humor into two positive types (affiliative and self-enhancing), and two negative types (aggressive and self-defeating).

Affiliative humor refers to saying funny things, telling jokes, and being witty. The intent is to amuse others, maintain relationships and reduce tension. Self-enhancing humor refers to having a humorous outlook on life even when not around others, being amused by the incongruities in life, and using humor to cope. Aggressive humor is the tendency to use humor to criticize or manipulate others, including sarcasm, disparaging and potentially offensive humor. Self-defeating humor is the tendency to do or say funny things at one’s own expense and laughing along when being ridiculed or disparaged by others.

In our first study we compared the humor scores for people with diabetes with the norms established for the HSQ (think people without diabetes). Those of us with diabetes did not differ from the norm on either affiliative or self-enhancing humor, and even showed less aggressive humor than the norm. Yay. These results suggested that we can live with diabetes AND maintain our sense of humor. While living with diabetes may impact us in many ways, compromising our sense of humor isn’t one of them. That made me smile but I wanted to laugh.

So, we gathered even more participants (284 kind-hearted souls) and divided them into two groups. One group had an average A1c ≤ 6.99% and the other had an average A1c ≥ 7.0%.  Why that cut-off you ask? Well, that’s the A1c generally recommended by all those medical types with the American Diabetes Association. They have come to believe that maintaining an A1c ≤ 6.99% is correlated with reducing all kinds of diabetes related complications. So, if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us.

We found that those participants with A1c ≤ 6.99% scored significantly higher on both affiliative and self-enhancing humor.  That’s right, not just higher, but significantly higher. In research we love significantly. It is important to note that our study was not able to determine directionality. In other words, we don’t know yet if people with good control have a better sense of humor or if people with a better sense of humor have better control. That is a question for another day. So, stop filling out other surveys and save your strength, humor and diabetes researchers still need you. But in the meantime, these results made me laugh. Granted, it doesn’t take much in these troubling times, but I can feel my A1c dropping already.

If you know any diabetes joke or memes, feel free share them in the comments below. Here are a few of my favorites!


1 Comment
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    I felt a lot of empathy reading this article.time to do some serious soul searching.

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