Benevolent humor has been shown to help medical assistants (MAs) positively deal with workday stress, new research shows. Dark humor, such as sarcasm, is associated with disadvantages, according to the publication in BMC Primary Care.

Researchers surveyed more than 600 medical assistants, mostly work in primary health care, in Germany. An online survey was used with the goal to understand better the relationship between job satisfaction and different humor styles.

Respondents who preferred positive and benevolent humor were in generally also more satisfied with their work. “MAs with a preference for light humor stated that they received more positive feedback and were more likely to feel that they were making a difference at work,” says researcher Julia Raecke. “Even though satire and irony are considered dark humor, we found no negative correlation with the respondents’ well-being,” adds Raecke. In contrast, cynicism and especially sarcasm had negative effects. According to the researchers, humor is one of several factors that influence well-being at work.

Go ahead and have a laugh!