Humour and its link to meaning and spirituality in war.

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter


Veterans of the Second World War are now in later life, and dealing with the common issues of ageing, including possible disability and deteriorating mental health. In this context they are also revisiting their experiences during the war, which may now be having an additional impact on them both physically and psychologically. This paper looks at their war experiences, and in particularly the use of humour as discussed in their reminiscences of their experiences, and the relationship of humour to past and current wellbeing. In this paper I take the position that the use of humour serves different purposes at different stages of life, including extreme circumstances such as war. Humour can involve coping with the here-and-now demands, but in later life it can become linked to a search for meaning. As a result, I suggest that humour may become more spiritually oriented in later life in the sense that it looks at meaning, rather than being distraction oriented as it can be during times of extreme stress earlier in life.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAgeing, Disability and Spirituality
EditorsElizabeth Mackinlay
Place of PublicationLondon, England
PublisherJessica Kingsley Publishers
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9781843105848
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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