Humor in Health: How to Stay Healthy and Happy with Humor

  • Tabea ScheelEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Psychology book series (BRIEFSPSYCHOL)


The saying “laughter is the best medicine” is explored in this chapter on humor and health. Though a large proportion of humor and health research is conducted in general contexts, empirical findings regarding the work context are increasing. Employees’ and supervisors’ affiliative and self-enhancing humor styles are found to be related to employees’ mental health and work-related outcomes (e.g., performance, job satisfaction). Aggressive humor seems significant for outcomes in the work context, and self-defeating humor seems more relevant in general contexts of humor where it has been associated with (less) well-being, anxiety/stress, and depression. However, the role of cultural determination is largely unknown. Among the hypotheses about the mechanisms that link humor with health are the ideas that humor buffers the consequences of stressful events and facilitates social relationships by enhancing social support. Several physiological mechanisms can explain the link between humor and physical health. Given that humor and health are related, future research should analyze whether improved mental health can explain the link between humor and performance.


Mental health Physiological health Stress-buffering hypothesis Social facilitation Health at work Well-being Performance Withdrawal 


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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Work and Organizational PsychologyFernUniversitaet in HagenHagenGermany

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