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.
- health care
- literature review