Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Watching Funny Shows Helps Children Tolerate Pain Longer, Study Finds

Date:
October 26, 2007
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles
Summary:
Watching comedy shows helps children tolerate pain for longer periods of time, according to a new study. Laughter has long been viewed as good medicine, and although there are many programs that bring humor into pediatric hospitals, little research has been done on the utility of humor for children or adolescents undergoing stressful or painful procedures, such as blood draws and treatments for cancer.

Watching comedy shows helps children tolerate pain for longer periods of time, according to a study by UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and the nonprofit organization Rx Laughter.

Related Articles


The study findings, published in the October issue of the journal Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, suggest that humorous distraction could be used in clinical settings to help children and adolescents better handle painful procedures.

Laughter has long been viewed as good medicine, and although there are many programs that bring humor into pediatric hospitals, little research has been done on the utility of humor for children or adolescents undergoing stressful or painful procedures, such as blood draws and treatments for cancer.

Rx Laughter, an organization founded by former television executive Sherry Dunay Hilber that promotes the use of humor in healing, worked with UCLA researchers on the study, which was funded by a grant from Comedy Central. Participants watched funny classic and contemporary films and television programs while undergoing a standardized pain task -- in this case, placing their hands in icy-cold water, said Dr. Margaret Stuber, a researcher at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and first author of the study.

The group demonstrated "significantly greater pain tolerance" while viewing the funny shows, according to the study.

Stuber said that researchers documented submersion times and participants' appraisal of the pain and examined them in relation to humor indicators -- the number of times the children laughed or smiled and their ratings of how funny the show was for them.

"We found that viewing funny videos increased the tolerance of pain for children but did not change their ratings of the severity of the pain," said Stuber, UCLA's Jane and Marc Nathanson Professor of Psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. "Although they kept their hands in the water longer, they didn't describe the task as any less painful than when they weren't watching the videos. However, this may mean that it simply took longer for the pain to become severe enough to remove their hand."

The number of laughs recorded was not related to either pain tolerance or appraisal, Stuber said.

Eighteen healthy children -- 12 boys and six girls between the ages of 7 and 16, with a mean age of 12 -- participated in the study. An ice chest was fitted with a plastic mesh screen to separate crushed ice from a plastic mesh armrest placed in 50-degree water. Water was circulated through the ice by a pump to prevent local warming. Participants placed a hand in the cold water to a depth of two inches above the wrist for up to three minutes maximum. Their hands were warmed between tests with warm towels.

Researchers took a baseline measure of submersion duration before the video was viewed, a measurement after and one while participants watched the video. The children left their hands in the icy water significantly longer when watching the funny shows, Stuber said.

Further study is needed to explore the specific mechanism behind the increased pain tolerance, Stuber said.

"Since we did not test any other types of distracters, it could be that something equally distracting but not funny would also be effective," she said. "However, the results do support the types of interventions being done at children's hospitals across the United States."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles. "Watching Funny Shows Helps Children Tolerate Pain Longer, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071024100905.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles. (2007, October 26). Watching Funny Shows Helps Children Tolerate Pain Longer, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071024100905.htm
University of California - Los Angeles. "Watching Funny Shows Helps Children Tolerate Pain Longer, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071024100905.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
HIV Outbreak Prompts Public Health Emergency In Indiana

HIV Outbreak Prompts Public Health Emergency In Indiana

Newsy (Mar. 26, 2015) Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says he will bring additional state resources to help stop the epidemic. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Indiana Permits Needle Exchange as HIV Cases Skyrocket

Indiana Permits Needle Exchange as HIV Cases Skyrocket

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 26, 2015) Governor Mike Pence declares the recent HIV outbreak in rural Indiana a "public health emergency" and authorizes a short-term needle-exchange program. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins