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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde research outputs.

Strathprints serves world leading Open Access research by the University of Strathclyde, including research by the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences (SIPBS), where research centres such as the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), the Cancer Research UK Formulation Unit, SeaBioTech and the Centre for Biophotonics are based.

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The purpose and function of humour in health, healthcare and nursing: a literature review

McCreaddie, M.A. and Wiggins, S. (2008) The purpose and function of humour in health, healthcare and nursing: a literature review. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 9 (2). pp. 39-40. ISSN 0309-2402

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Abstract

This paper is a report of a review conducted to identify, critically analyse and synthesize the humour literature across a number of fields related to health, health care and nursing. The humour-health hypothesis suggests that there is a positive link between humour and health. Humour has been a focus of much contention and deliberation for centuries, with three theories dominating the field: the superiority or tendentious theory, the incongruity theory and the relief theory. A total of 1630 papers were identified, with 220 fully sourced and 88 included in the final review. There is a dearth of humour research within nursing yet, ironically, an abundance of non-evidence-based opinion citing prerequisites and exclusion zones. Examination of physician-patient interaction and the humour-health hypothesis demonstrates that use of humour by patients is both challenging and revealing, particularly with regard to self-deprecating humour.