Sense of humor, childhood cancer stressors, and outcomes of psychosocial adjustment, immune function, and infection

Journal Article

The diagnosis, treatment, and side effects of childhood cancer have been described as extremely stressful experiences in the life of a child. Anecdotally, children report that a sense of humor helps them cope with the daily experiences of living with cancer; however, no research has examined sense of humor and childhood cancer stressors. This study investigated the effect of sense of humor on the relationship between cancer stressors and children's psychosocial adjustment to cancer, immune function, and infection using Lazarus and Folkman's theory of stress, appraisal, and coping. A direct relationship was observed between sense of humor and psychosocial adjustment to cancer, such that children with a high sense of humor had greater psychological adjustment, regardless of the amount of cancer stressors. A moderating effect was observed for incidence of infection. As childhood cancer stressors increase, children with high coping humor scores reported fewer incidences of infection than low scorers.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Dowling, JS; Hockenberry, M; Gregory, RL

Published Date

  • 2003

Published In

  • Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing

Volume / Issue

  • 20 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 271 - 292

PubMed ID

  • 14738160

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/1043454203254046