The effect of humor on anxiety in patients receiving hemodialysis: An open-label, randomized trial


1 1 Clinical Research Center, Department of Operating Room, School of Paramedics, Sabzevar University of Medical Sciences, Sabzevar, Iran

2 Iranian Research Center on Healthy Aging, Department of Nursing, Nursing and Midwifery School, Sabzevar University of Medical Sciences, Sabzevar, Iran

3 Student Research Committee, Faculty Member of Paramedicine School, Sabzevar University of Medical Sciences, Sabzevar, Iran

4 Department of Paramedical School, Sabzevar University of Medical Sciences, Sabzevar, Iran

5 Student Research Committee, School of Nursing, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

6 Department of Biostatistics, Student Research Committee, School of Health, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

7 School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


Background: Patients receiving hemodialysis experience high levels of anxiety and stress. Objectives: This study aimed to examine the effect of humor on anxiety in patients receiving hemodialysis. Methods: This open-label, randomized, controlled trial was conducted in 2018, on 63 patients receiving hemodialysis in Sabzevar, Iran. The participants were randomly assigned to an intervention and a control group using a permuted block randomization method. The intervention group participated in humor therapy sessions twice a week for 3 weeks. The control group received no intervention. Data were collected using Spielberger's State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) before and 3 weeks after the intervention. Data were analyzed using the independent samples and the paired t tests. Results: The mean age of the participants was 61.85 ± 7.93 and 54.61 ± 5.89 in the intervention and control groups, respectively (P = 0.217). The mean baseline and posttest trait anxiety (TA) scores were not significantly different between the two groups (P = 0.152 and 0.170, respectively). Also, the mean baseline scores of state anxiety (SA) in the intervention and the control groups were 48.45 ± 14.21 and 47.28 ± 15.12, respectively (P = 0.133). However, after the intervention, the mean score of SA decreased to 27.45 ± 16.65 in the intervention group (P < 0.001), but this score increased to 49.43 ± 15.42 in the control group (P = 0.227). Conclusion: Humor therapy was effective in reducing SA. Hence, nurses working in hemodialysis departments are advised to use humor therapy as an easy, low-cost, and effective complementary therapy to reduce patients' anxiety during a hemodialysis session.


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