Date of Award

Summer 1987

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




This essay discusses the development of humor in the child from three perspectives: psychodynamic, social and cognitive. This essay considers the four developmental stages of childhood: infancy and toddlerhood, the preschool period, the schoolage period, and preadolescence/ adolescence. The essay describes the characteristic forms of humor which are initiated and appreciated by children in each stage. These changing humor forms reflect the child's psychodynamic, social and cognitive growth. The essay uses published literature as its source. From this review of literature, implications are drawn for nurses who work with hospitalized children. General implications are provided to help the nurse create a more supportive and less stressful atmosphere for pediatric patients and their families. Cautions are offered to the nurse who intends to use humor with pediatric patients, so that humor is used in an ethical way with patients who are emotionally ready. Since there is wide variation in the type of humor which is appropriate to each developmental level, the essay gives nurses age-specific implications for recognizing and initiating humor with hospitalized children.



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