Political Humor and Anxiety: Proposal Time! (Update #5)

After extensive research, it’s time to turn theory into practice and write questions for the fall Omnibus Project survey! For those unfamiliar with the Omnibus, it’s a survey sent out every fall by the Government department to gather political covariates and demographic data along with variables of interest from a sample pool of respondents. There’s a huge advantage to adding my questions to the Omnibus, since it allows me to access a larger pool than I would be able to access as a lone researcher, but this also means that the survey will be longer than the one that I would administer on my own and will contain the questions of other researchers that may or may not affect how respondents answer my survey questions.

Since I can submit up to 8 core questions, I chose three questions that focus on the relationship between political humor and anxiety initially developed by R. Lance Holbert, Jayeon Lee, Sarah Esralew, Whitney O. Walther, Jay D. Hmielowski and Kristen D. Landreville, and later used by Dr. Amy Becker in her study on political parody and affinity for political humor (Playing With Politics: Online Political Parody, Affinity for Political Humor, Anxiety Reduction, and Implications for Political Efficacy). I poured over Holbert et al’s assessment of the Affinity for Political Humor (AFPH) question battery, where they went into the internal validity of each question across four different studies, tested four different proposed models, and came to some really interesting statistical conclusions. I determined that the questions had been rigorously tested, were worded clearly, and would allow me to compare my own results with those of other studies. The initial questionnaire was eleven questions long, so I decided to take the three most relevant to my research question. The authors of the validity assessment did warn that separating questions out of the battery may inadvertently affect results. However, the authors’ model for AFPH (which they tested in the validity review) suggested that these three questions can be isolated without detriment because they measure a distinct latent variable of AFPH within the anxiety dimension.

[See Holbert et al’s paper here, I think the work they did was remarkable.]

Students are responsible for the coding of their own questions in the Omnibus Survey, so I created a little demonstration which can be accessed at this link just to get an idea of how I would display my questions and what data I would gather. Give it a test!

Affinity for Political Humor – Anxiety Dimension Survey


  1. skmaisto says:

    Your project seems very interesting! I like the way you phrased the questions in your survey. It is good that you acknowledge that the other survey questions may impact the results for your questions, and I am interested to see what the results of the survey are in the fall. The relationship between political humor and anxiety is not one that I had put much thought into, so I find your project quite unique and important.

  2. Hi Olivia,
    I just took the survey and amused at how long it took me to really sort out my feelings on each question. I wonder also what the role of political humor in all those contexts would be in different spaces, for instance, on a liberal college campus where it is assumed students and professors and other community members feel similarly with regards to politics vs. being a recent graduate at a well established law firm in the South (for example).
    This is such a cool project though and I can’t wait to learn more!
    Julie Luecke