Study links sense of humor, survival
March 21, 2007 8:28pm CST
Laugh and the world laughs with you. Even better, you might live longer, a Norwegian researcher reports. Adults who have a sense of humor outlive those who don't find life funny, and the survival edge is particularly large for people with cancer, says Sven Svebak of the medical school at Norwegian University of Science and Technology. He released his study of about 54,000 Norwegians, tracked for seven years, at the American Psychosomatic Society meeting here. At the start, patients filled out questionnaires on how easily they found humor in real-life situations and how important a humorous perspective was. The greater a role humor played in their lives, the greater their chances of surviving the seven years, Svebak says. Adults who scored in the top one-quarter for humor appreciation were 35% more likely to be alive than those in the bottom quarter, he says. In a subgroup of 2,015 who had a cancer diagnosis at the start, a great sense of humor cut someone's chances of death by about 70% compared with adults with a poor sense of humor, Svebak says.