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Heart Lung. 2011 Jul-Aug;40(4):310-9. doi: 10.1016/j.hrtlng.2010.07.010.

Effects of humor and laughter on psychological functioning, quality of life, health status, and pulmonary functioning among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a preliminary investigation.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, USA.



Previous research indicates the beneficial effects of humor among healthy adults. Little is known about the physical and psychological effects of sense of humor and laughter among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


Patients with COPD (n = 46; mean age ± SD, 66.9 ± 9.9 years) completed assessments of sense of humor, depression, anxiety, quality of life, and recent illness. A subset of patients (n = 22) completed a laughter induction study and were randomly assigned to view either a humorous or a neutral video. Pulmonary function, mood state, and dyspnea were assessed before and after the video.


Sense of humor was associated with fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety and an enhanced quality of life. However, the induction of laughter led to lung hyperinflation.


Sense of humor among patients with COPD is associated with positive psychological functioning and enhanced quality of life, but laughing aloud may cause acute deterioration in pulmonary function secondary to worsened hyperinflation.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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