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Feature Articles
A Chuckle a Day Keeps the Doctor Away: Therapeutic Humor and Laughter

Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services   Vol. 42 No. 3   March 2004

By LCDR Catherine M. MacDonald, NC, USN, MN, APRN, BC

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Laughter has been identified as a beneficial component of holistic health care throughout the world. In conducting a MedLine search, active laughter programs were found to be conducted in the United States, the United Kingdom, India, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, and Germany, among others. The health benefits of laughter have been described in the literature, and one could postulate the positive clinical effects for clients who incorporate this as a self-management technique. Finally, in planning for the future, numerous clinical applications and research implications were deduced from the current literature.


Lieutenant Commander MacDonald is Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist and Department Head for Mental Health Nursing, Nursing Services, Naval Medical Center San Diego, San Diego, California.