Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Young adult literature often focuses on different problems associated with adolescence. Humor may provide a strategy for alleviating the tension associated with such problems in realistic fiction. The purpose of this study was to describe the use of humor in current, positively reviewed young adult literature in dark topics such as depression, death and suicide. Themes that emerged included humor as a coping device, self-defeating humor, and affiliative humor. Humor as a coping device was shown to increase with age as a way to deal with stressful situations in a study by Fuhr (2002). In a study by Erickson & Feldstein (2006), the most common types of humor present to manage stress included: affiliative humor, self-enhancing humor, aggressive humor, and self-defeating humor. Lamcampagne (1977) noted an increasing number of young adult authors were using humor to show the complexity of situations and that humor was a way for adolescents to show that the pains are real. This study strived to build upon the findings of Lamcampagne, in the exploration of the use of humor in young adult novels, with the topics of death, depression, and suicide, choosing current books from 2004- 2010.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Karla Krueger


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this graduate research paper and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit an email request to Include your name and clearly identify the thesis by full title and author as shown on the work.

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (60 pages)



File Format