Master's Theses

Document Type


Date of Award

Summer 2011

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Dr. Janett Naylor


This study was conducted to examine the mood-enhancing benefits of Judy Young’s Laughter Therapy and the facilitative effects of high levels of creativity on changes in mood. This program aims to teach participants purposeful laughter so that they may ‘turn on’ genuine laughter at will. Two hour exposure to Laughter Therapy revealed increases in Positive Affect (PA) and decreases in Negative Affect (NA). The full three-week program was conducted with a control group with consenting employees at a school district. The control group included beneficial components of the Laughter Therapy program (i.e. light cardiovascular exercise, diaphragmatic breathing, and social interaction) in order to isolate the effects of the purposeful laughter taught during the sessions in the Laughter Therapy condition. Creativity levels did not influence the degree of mood changes in participants. T-tests did not indicate significant changes in PA or NA when the Laughter Therapy was compared with the control group in the three-week data collection. However, correlations revealed a small change in PA and NA in the anticipated directions for the Laughter Therapy condition. These results may have been influenced by an inadequate amount of participants in the three-week data collection. While Laughter Therapy may be useful for enhancing mood, more research is needed to determine the therapeutic benefits of this approach.


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Copyright 2011 Jennifer Clark

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