Making sense of humour among men in a weight-loss program: A dialogical narrative approach

Timothy Budden, James A. Dimmock, Brett Smith, Michael Rosenberg, Mark R. Beauchamp, Ben Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Humour appears to be an important aspect of health-promoting efforts for some men. A better understanding of the role humour plays in men’s health contexts may provide insight into the optimal design of health interventions for men. In this study, we explored the role banter, humour that blurs the line between playfulness and aggression, plays for men in a men’s weight loss context. We applied dialogical narrative analysis to thirty interviews conducted with men involved in a men’s weight-loss program that leverages competition to drive weight loss. Banter served several functions for men in the program, including allowing them to determine their social position during early group formation, feel good, develop camaraderie, experience respite, provide male inter-personal support in a counter-intuitive way, and ‘be themselves’. Men could use banter as a tool to develop resilience for themselves, but could also adapt their approach to use banter as a means of providing support for others. Banter could also cause trouble, through conflict and misunderstandings, primarily understood through a lens of narratives of progressiveness, inclusiveness, and a ‘changing culture’. Banter could do harm, by positioning oneself against certain characteristics, and as a tool to get under people’s skin. However, an approach-orientation to one’s problems may allow misunderstandings that arise due to banter to lead to enhanced group cohesion. Intervention developers ought to explicitly address the potential for banter (and humour more broadly) to have positive and negative effects in men’s health contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1098-1112
Number of pages15
JournalQualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health
Issue number7
Early online date21 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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