Dr. David Greene, PhD: Humor is a "free and readily available" tool for Treating Diabetes


New findings presented at the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) 81st Scientific Sessions suggested an association between humor and medical and psychological benefits within diabetes populations.

The study, led by Dr. David S. Greene, an associate professor of the University of Northern Colorado, charted unexplored territory in the study of diabetes. Greene believed that it could add “another arrow in the quiver” of health care professionals worldwide.

“The clinical relevance to this is if there is indeed a cause-and-effect relationship between A1C or control of diabetes and one’s sense of humor, that gives us a whole new avenue to work with people with diabetes that can be very positive,” Greene said.

The study was comprised of a sample of 284 diabetic participants, all of whom were exposed to several to different types of humor via the Humor Styles Questionnaire (HSQ).

The participants were divided into 2 groups (diabetic people with an A1C ≤6.99% and those ≥7.0%.) based on their A1C levels. The questionnaire included positive, negative, affiliative, and aggressive humor.

Participants in the A1C ≤6.99% group scored significantly higher with positive and affiliative humor (P <.01) as well as self-enhancing humor.

Additionally, the study noted that participants who practiced good diabetes control were also associated with positive styles of humor. While the cause-and-effect had yet to be fully determined, Greene did believe that the “free and readily available” use of humor could prove beneficial in future studies.

“I believe, the more we find out about the use of humor (the more) it just adds another option for diabetes educators, for n=medical practitioners, (and) for people working in the counseling field,” Greene said.

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