Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

In this article, the authors examine how 45 men talked about "pure" and "applied" humor in qualitative interviews about their experience of testicular cancer. Most described using applied humor in work and social settings to challenge assumptions about the disease, and in health settings to manage feelings, hide embarrassment, reduce tension, share a sense of solidarity with others, or encourage others to examine themselves. Men also described their usually positive reaction to jokes made by others; jokes helped to dispel tension and reassured men that they were being treated as normal. In a few accounts, men revealed how humor was hurtful. They were sometimes upset about jokes made by others, or by the idea of jokes being made, fearing humiliation and stigma. Humor might ease difficult interactions, but our results suggest that clinicians and others should be careful not to initiate humor without a clear lead from the patient. © 2004 Sage Publications.

Original publication




Journal article


Qualitative Health Research

Publication Date





1123 - 1139