Send to

Choose Destination
Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 1992 Apr;6(2):132-7.

The dynamics of laughter.

Author information

Division of Nursing, Bethel College, Mishwaka, IN 46545.


The benefits of humor have been accepted throughout human history. Humor is widely accepted for its positive physiological and psychological effects in a variety of situations. The psychiatric literature purports humor as an effective tool in psychiatric illness and psychotherapy. The benefits of humor in business, management, and education are also being described because the right perspective facilitates problem solving both interpersonally and in a group setting, and humor puts people at ease, promoting expression and the exchange of ideas. In the nursing literature, humor and laughter are increasingly presented as an approach that can assist the nurse in meeting health-related goals and objectives. Not only can humor benefit the patient, but the use of humor can facilitate effective management of staff and others encountered in the health care setting. Humor also has negative functions. Although the nursing literature on humor identifies that there are some situations in which humor is contraindicated, little attention is given to the problem created for the nurse when others, i.e., patients or family members, fellow staff members, or physicians, laugh inappropriately. This article discusses the assessment of laughter. Benefits of laughter and humor are described. The causes of inappropriate laughter are outlined, and the dynamics of inappropriate laughter are considered. Finally, implications for nursing practice are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center