The researchers evaluated humor and laughter in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Participants who exhibited a greater sense of humor were more likely than others to report fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety, and better quality of life -- and tended to report that they had experienced fewer respiratory illnesses in the month before the study.
However, the study published in the journal Heart & Lung, finds patients who watched a 30-minute comedy video and laughed during the viewing had lower pulmonary function afterward than did patients who watched a home-repair video that did not prompt laughter.
"This study shows that humor is really more complex than people make it out to be," senior author Charles Emery, a professor of psychology at Ohio State University, says in a statement. "Yes, humor definitely has benefits, but the behaviors associated with humor in fact may not be good for all people all the time -- which is a useful thing to know."
COPD is a chronic, progressive disorder characterized by difficulty breathing, and especially in expelling air from the lungs.