This study aimed to see how OTs in America used humour, according to Vergeer & MacRae (1993)’s sixteen uses of humour they found in their study. These uses are things like as an equalizer, as assessment/treatment tool, coping strategy. Leber & Vanoli say there is a lack of information about how health professionals use humour (there is some, but with regards to OT there isn’t a lot at all).
Leber & Vanoli did this by sending out surveys to OTs who are registered with AOTA. They found that generally OTs thought humour was important to use but that there was no training on it. The more experienced an OT was (longer years in practice) the more likely they were to use humour, suggesting confidence increased its use.
OT is uniquely placed to use humour in a planned way as it is concerned with client-centred, individual and holistic care (not just physical care with humour is an adjunct in order to provide good bedside manner), and it is concerned with everyday occupations of which humour is part of everyday life and very personal. Humour can be used to make interventions which involve pre-skills more meaningful and client centred- it is assumed the total skills themselves will be meaningful as they are ADLs.
Limitations were that only OTs who were register with AOTA were contacted, not others or retired OTs. It also lacked an investigation of cultural impacts.
Possible areas to investigate further are whether training helps increase use of humour or make interventions more client centred?
Leber D and Vanoli E (2001) Therapeutic Use of Humor: Occupational Therapy Clinicians’ Perceptions and Practices. American Journal of Occupational Therapy 55(2): 221-226.