Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Is laughter the best medicine? Cartoons could help patients cope with chronic conditions

Date:
March 28, 2014
Source:
University of Southampton
Summary:
Cartoons could be a beneficial way of educating patients and empowering them to cope better with their long term conditions, research indicates. "Humor is frequently and naturally used by people with chronic illnesses to help them adjust and understand what is happening to them," explains the study's leader. "Our study has shown that cartoons could provide clarity to patients and be a way to engage with them. It is an untapped resource and could be a potential approach to support self-management."

New research suggests that cartoons could be a beneficial way of educating patients and empowering them to cope better with their long term conditions, research indicates.
Credit: spinetta / Fotolia

Researchers from the University of Southampton have shown that cartoons could be a beneficial way of educating patients and empowering them to cope better with their long term conditions.

"Humour is frequently and naturally used by people with chronic illnesses to help them adjust and understand what is happening to them," explains Associate Professor Dr Anne Kennedy, who led the study. "Our study has shown that cartoons could provide clarity to patients and be a way to engage with them. It is an untapped resource and could be a potential approach to support self-management."

Cartoons are already used in patient information but the content is sourced from health professionals rather than directly from patient experience, a unique aspect of the Southampton study.

Published in the Health Services Research journal, the study was carried out under the auspices of National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (NIHR CLAHRC) Wessex and Greater Manchester. Researchers used patient feedback to create a series of cartoons which demonstrated common experiences, problems and anxieties. The cartoons were incorporated into a guidebook given to patients who have chronic kidney disease. These patients were asked their opinion on the use of cartoons and humour in regular patient information and then asked to evaluate the cartoons drawn for the guidebook.

Results showed a range of feelings towards the cartoons including amusement, recognition, hostility and incentives to action. Overall patients found the cartoons useful in lightening the tone of information and gave patients insight and understanding they had not had before.

Dr Kennedy says health professionals could use the cartoon approach to help their patients engage more in the management of their own conditions.

She says: "Cartoons can be challenging and the difficult emotional responses some pictures evoke could be used to help people adjust to their situation, but they can also be used to dispel misconceptions. The word chronic is often misinterpreted as meaning terminal -- reaction to the particular cartoon that demonstrated 'chronic' did prove a bit shocking to some patients but it allowed the word to be talked through and it was a tipping point for patients to better understand what their condition was."

Professor Anne Rogers, NIHR CLAHRC Wessex Research Director, who also worked on the study, adds: "Cartoons, drawn with patient input, have potential to help communicate important advice and help patients self-manage their conditions while boosting moral. More work needs to done in this area to build on our findings and we hope that this knowledge will be used to develop cartoons that reflect patients, experiences and get them thinking about where they can get support to suit their needs."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Anne Kennedy, Anne Rogers, Christian Blickem, Gavin Daker-White, Robert Bowen. Developing cartoons for long-term condition self-management information. BMC Health Services Research, 2014; 14 (1): 60 DOI: 10.1186/1472-6963-14-60

Cite This Page:

University of Southampton. "Is laughter the best medicine? Cartoons could help patients cope with chronic conditions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140328075817.htm>.
University of Southampton. (2014, March 28). Is laughter the best medicine? Cartoons could help patients cope with chronic conditions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140328075817.htm
University of Southampton. "Is laughter the best medicine? Cartoons could help patients cope with chronic conditions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140328075817.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 23, 2014) The WHO has warned up to 20,000 people could be infected with Ebola over the next few weeks. As Sonia Legg reports, the implications for the West African countries suffering from the disease are huge. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million Within 4 Months

Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million Within 4 Months

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) Health officials warn that without further intervention, the number of Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone could reach 1.4 million by January. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Cases to Triple in Weeks Without Drastic Action

WHO: Ebola Cases to Triple in Weeks Without Drastic Action

AFP (Sep. 23, 2014) The number of Ebola infections will triple to 20,000 by November, soaring by thousands every week if efforts to stop the outbreak are not stepped up radically, the WHO warned in a study on Tuesday. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
5 Ways Men Can Prevent Most Heart Attacks

5 Ways Men Can Prevent Most Heart Attacks

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) No surprise here: A recent study says men can reduce their risk of heart attack by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes daily exercise. Video provided by Newsy
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