ERIC Number: ED317892
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-May
A Cheerful Heart is Good Medicine: The Emotional and Physical Benefits of Humor.
Humphreys, Brian Richard
This paper presents a research review conducted to determine whether there is empirical support for the idea that people can benefit both emotionally and physically from humor. Special attention is given to stress and coping since these concepts have been of particular interest to humor researchers. The document begins with a discussion of the concepts of humor, stress, and coping. It then moves to a presentation of studies concerned with the emotional benefits of humor. This includes studies on general mood disturbance, anxiety, and depression. After briefly discussing how humor helps a person emotionally and the situational influences on the use of humor, the paper addresses the research on the physical benefits of humor. This includes the effects of humor on immune functions, pain, circulation and respiration, and physical illness. This section is followed by a discussion of gender differences and humor. Finally, the paper's last two sections present applications of the research findings and some concluding thoughts. Although the results of the studies were mixed, it is concluded that sufficient evidence exists for the emotional and physical benefits of humor to warrant further research. (NB)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Doctoral research paper, Biola University, California.