Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Robert Carlson


This thesis attempted to replicate the results of the Decker and Rotondo (1999) study by using a similar survey, but testing in three different work settings using a broader age demographic. The results of this study confirm many of the findings by Decker and Rotondo (1999), as well as the findings of Thorson and Powell (1993,1996, 1997) concerning the Multidimensional Sense of Humor Scale (MSHS). The present research revealed that the MSHS scores were age and gender neutral, suggesting that sense of humor in people does not vary according to gender or age. The research also showed that the use of “positive” humor by the subordinate was significantly affected by their MSHS score, as well as the supervisors’ use of “positive” humor. The use of “negative” humor by the subordinate was significantly affected by the supervisors’ use of “negative” humor, the supervisors’ gender and the subordinates’ age. A correlation was found between the MSHS and the use of “positive” humor by the subordinate. Additionally, this research suggested that male supervisors used more “negative” humor than female supervisors. Finally, there was no significant difference found between gender, age and the use of “positive” or “negative” humor. However, there were significant differences between companies with respect to the use of “positive” humor used by the supervisor and two of the subscales within the MSHS.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Communication and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Masters of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 2000, Susan Stibal.