09 May 2017
They say that if you can laugh at it, you can live with it. Is this true? Does the ability to see the funny side of things really act like a psychological shield against stress?
A series of new studies in Personality and Social Psychological Bulletin provides some tentative support for the idea. But the research also illustrates why this is such a difficult topic to study – does humour really reduce stress or is it just easier to see the funny side when you are coping well?
And it’s worth remembering the serious risk that if humour is shown to be protective by psychology research – and it’s a big if – that those who suffer most from stress will be put under social pressure to help themselves by cheering up, a situation only likely to intensify their distress.
Read more on our Research Digest blog.