Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, PhD, PA-C


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or
not laughter therapy improves symptoms of depression among the elderly population.

STUDY DESIGN: A review of three studies written in the English language published between 2007 and 2011.

DATA SOURCES: Two randomized controlled trials and one pilot study comparing the effect of laughter therapy on depression were found using PubMed, Medline, OVID, and Cochrane databases.

OUTOMES MEASURED: Outcomes measured in the studies included depression, quality of life, and life satisfaction.

RESULTS: Laughter therapy was shown to be beneficial as both an independent and adjunctive intervention for depressed elderly patients after several treatment sessions. Laughter therapy yielded fewer depressive symptoms and increased life satisfaction among patients. These results are similar to past studies that have shown a correlation between a sense of humor and decreased depressive features.1

CONCLUSIONS: The results of these three studies show that laughter therapy is an inexpensive, safe, and effective intervention for elderly patients suffering from symptoms of depression.