Portions of this report were presented at the 101st annual convention of the American Psychological Association. We thank Karl Goodkin for his aid in gaining access to hospital patients and Brian Cutler, Paul Foos, Bernie Saper, and Steve White for comments on earlier drafts.
Effects of State Humor, Expectancies, and Choice on Postsurgical Mood and Self-Medication: A Field Experiment1
Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 26, Issue 20, pages 1775–1794, October 1996
How to Cite
Rotton, J. and Shats, M. (1996), Effects of State Humor, Expectancies, and Choice on Postsurgical Mood and Self-Medication: A Field Experiment. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 26: 1775–1794. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1996.tb00097.x
- Issue online: 31 JUL 2006
- Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
It was hypothesized that repeated exposure to humorous material reduces distress, pain, and medication following surgery. This hypothesis was tested in a field experiment by randomly assigning 78 postsurgical patients to either a control group or 1 of 8 experimental groups formed by the factorial crossing of type of videotape (humorous vs. serious), perceived control (choice vs. no choice), and expectation (positive vs. none). Multivariate analyses of variance disclosed that humor reduced requests for minor medication, combined with expectations to reduce pain, but increased use of heavy analgesic when patients were deprived of choice. Although more research needs to be done, the findings suggest that hospital patients benefit from humorous and distracting material when exposure is voluntary.