Humor in medicine

Prim Care. 1996 Mar;23(1):141-54. doi: 10.1016/s0095-4543(05)70267-0.


The role of humor in medicine is becoming increasingly apparent. Humor helps individuals narrow interpersonal and cultural gaps, communicate difficult messages, express frustration and anger, and cope with anxiety. Primary care providers need to be able to interpret humor used by patients and can learn to use humor to create a healing environment. This article reviews the roles played by humor in the doctor-patient relationship and provides a brief guide to using one's sense of humor to improve and enrich patient care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communication
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Wit and Humor as Topic*