ERIC Number: ED100521
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1974-May-30
Reference Count: 0
Laughter and Healing: The Uses of Humor in Hospitals Treating Children.
Powell, Barbara S.
Children's use of humor in hospital settings and ways hospital personnel might encourage positive uses of humor are discussed in this paper. Three questions are raised: (1) How is humor viewed in hospitals treating children? (2) How can developmental psychology help us understand children's humor? (3) What implications does an understanding of children's humor have for how we work with children in hospitals? Responses to these questions are based on general studies of humor; literature on children's emotional reactions to hospitalization; interviews with parents, hospital personnel, and children; random observation in a nursery school; and participant observations of children of different ages in three hospital playrooms. Four developmental stages corresponding to Piagetian stages of cognitive development are identified (Infants/Toddlers, Preschool, Elementary School, and Adolescence), and the type of humor characteristic of each is described. It is emphasized that if we can begin to understand that humor is different for children at different ages, and can emphasize the positive functions of humor for children in hospitals (for adaptation to a new situation, building relationships, seeking explanations for one's condition, gaining mastery), then we can both initiate and appreciate humor with children as we work with them in hospital settings. (CS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Care of Children in Hospitals (9th, Chicago, Illinois, May 1974)