The role of humour in the social care professions: an exploratory study

Fogarty, M. and Elliot, D. L. (2019) The role of humour in the social care professions: an exploratory study. British Journal of Social Work, (doi:10.1093/bjsw/bcz027) (Early Online Publication)

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Six social care professionals were recruited to take part in in-depth interviews that sought to explore their phenomenological experiences of humour within their place of work. Using an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) approach, the results suggest that humour serves various important functions within social care. Humour can allow social care professionals to relieve themselves of negative emotions, to avoid stress and cynicism, to achieve a sense of normality and perspective and to engage with service users. The positive impact humour appears to have upon these professionals is in keeping with the humour–health hypothesis, which posits that humour enhances well-being. However, results from this study also suggest that humour may be capable of negatively impacting well-being. Arguably, these findings highlight the need to extend the humour–health hypothesis and incorporate the negative effects humour can have upon well-being. Results also indicate that, if used appropriately, humour can be utilised to benefit work performance and service user outcomes. The findings of this research hold important implications for how humour may be understood and fostered in social care training, practice and policy.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Elliot, Dr Dely
Authors: Fogarty, M., and Elliot, D. L.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Creativity Culture and Faith
Journal Name:British Journal of Social Work
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1468-263X
Published Online:19 March 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in British Journal of Social Work 2019
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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