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J Soc Psychol. 1994 Apr;134(2):175-82.

Therapeutic use of humor to improve social support in an institutionalized schizophrenic inpatient community.

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Lev Hasharon Mental Health Medical Center, Netania, Israel.


We attempted to use passive communal laughter to improve social support within a chronic schizophrenic inpatient population. Two identical wards were compared on classical measures of social support (emotional and functional), social network (size and dispersion), satisfaction, and the nature of the social relationships (source). The experimental group was exposed to video projection of humorous movies four times daily for 3 months, and the control group to video projections of other, assorted movies at the same rate. In the experimental ward a significant improvement was manifest in the category of "distinct individuals supporting each patient." The difference may have been due to an improvement in the relationship with the staff. No improvement was found on any of the other measures. We concluded that the positive atmosphere that humor creates affects the therapeutic alliance between staff and patients but does not affect other social networks because of the regressed nature of the schizophrenics' social relationships.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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