Laughter, asthma and stress

Carmen Moran, Paul Thomas, Jessica Milner-Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Humour research leads many to recommend humour as a valuable intervention or personal coping strategy during times of stress. Humour is frequently associated with overt laughter. Laughter, however, is believed to potentiate asthma symptoms. Only one study, to date, suggests that laughter may lead to reduced respiratory problems, as measured by an asthma challenge test. This paper looks at asthma patients' views of humour, laughter, and laughter-induced breathing difficulty. It compares evidence from asthma and control groups. Results show a greater propensity for laughter-induced breathing difficulties in the asthma group, but also a trend to more frequent laughter in the asthma group compared with the control group. Thus, people with asthma may get more potentially detrimental effects from laughter, but it does not stop them laughing. It is also possible that people with asthma are recalling more incidents of laughter because of the associated breathing difficulties, which would account for the apparent trend towards more laughter in that group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalHumor and Health Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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