The present study empirically investigated the role of adaptive and maladaptive components of humour in the relation between attributional style and dysphoria. Four hundred eighteen students (134 male, 282 female; 2 respondents did not indicate gender) completed questionnaires measuring attributional style, humour styles and depressive symptoms. Among men and women, higher levels of affiliative and self-enhancing humour, and lower levels of self-defeating humour, were each associated with fewer depressive symptoms. Additionally, higher levels of affiliative humour provided a buffer against the deleterious effects of a negative attributional style in men, but not women. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.