Research Topic

Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on the Relationship Between Humor and Health: Theoretical Foundations, Empirical Evidence and Implications

About this Research Topic

Having a good sense of humor is thought to be a healthy and desirable personality trait. In positive psychology, humor is viewed as a personal quality which promotes resilience and well-being. It has a broad range of effects on perceptions, attitudes, judgments, and emotions. In this regard, studies have associated humor and laughter with several physiological, psychological, sociological, and behavioral benefits for physical and mental health. One instance of a therapeutic medical intervention can be found in the interactions of clowns with patients and their relatives. Overall, humor can contribute to health at least at three levels: Paramedical staff-patient, medical staff-patient, and interpersonal relationships. Thus, besides positively influencing patients’ experiences, humor is also related to better work experiences and staff well-being.

While the relationship between humor and health has been investigated through different perspectives, some areas are still under-researched. Communication studies, for instance, have primarily focused on the implications of mass media. In this context, it was observed that humor in advertisements enhances attention and improved the persuasiveness of preventive messages. Whilst preventive health campaigns appeal to negative emotions like fear in order to dissuade their audience from hazardous health behavior, the use of fear can lead to defensive reactions, such as avoidance or denial. In order to circumvent the phenomenon whereby preventive messages are perceived as a threat to an individual’s attitudinal freedom, introducing humor and positive psychology in health warnings may open the audience for “healthy” arguments.

This Research Topic encourages perspectives on the relationship between humor and health from various scientific disciplines. Possible topics or themes can include, but are not limited to: Health communication, health promotion, prevention, and care. We welcome submissions of Original Research (qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods), Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses, and profound Methods, Hypothesis and Theory on humor and health.


Keywords: health communication, mass media, prevention, emotion, positive psychology, humor


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Having a good sense of humor is thought to be a healthy and desirable personality trait. In positive psychology, humor is viewed as a personal quality which promotes resilience and well-being. It has a broad range of effects on perceptions, attitudes, judgments, and emotions. In this regard, studies have associated humor and laughter with several physiological, psychological, sociological, and behavioral benefits for physical and mental health. One instance of a therapeutic medical intervention can be found in the interactions of clowns with patients and their relatives. Overall, humor can contribute to health at least at three levels: Paramedical staff-patient, medical staff-patient, and interpersonal relationships. Thus, besides positively influencing patients’ experiences, humor is also related to better work experiences and staff well-being.

While the relationship between humor and health has been investigated through different perspectives, some areas are still under-researched. Communication studies, for instance, have primarily focused on the implications of mass media. In this context, it was observed that humor in advertisements enhances attention and improved the persuasiveness of preventive messages. Whilst preventive health campaigns appeal to negative emotions like fear in order to dissuade their audience from hazardous health behavior, the use of fear can lead to defensive reactions, such as avoidance or denial. In order to circumvent the phenomenon whereby preventive messages are perceived as a threat to an individual’s attitudinal freedom, introducing humor and positive psychology in health warnings may open the audience for “healthy” arguments.

This Research Topic encourages perspectives on the relationship between humor and health from various scientific disciplines. Possible topics or themes can include, but are not limited to: Health communication, health promotion, prevention, and care. We welcome submissions of Original Research (qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods), Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses, and profound Methods, Hypothesis and Theory on humor and health.


Keywords: health communication, mass media, prevention, emotion, positive psychology, humor


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

13 January 2021 Manuscript
18 March 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

13 January 2021 Manuscript
18 March 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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