Laughter At Home Survey
Our team had several thoughts about the effects of laughter in households.
Our hypothesis was that children from families that laugh a lot are healthier, experience less stress regarding school, argue less with siblings and friends, and have fewer conflicts with parents.
We distributed 170 surveys (to both kids and parents) to find out how laughter affects families' health, arguments, and level of stress. The age groups studied were children in grades 4 through 8 and parents of children in grades 4 through 12. We divided our results into four groups in a classical 2x2 study:
LLA -Low Laughing Adults (39)
HLA -High Laughing Adults (46)
LLK -Low Laughing Kids (37)
HLK -High Laughing Kids (49)
To determine the groupings, we considered answers to the following questions:
How often is there laughter in your house? (question#3)
How often do you laugh out loud with your kids/parents? (question #9)
View the full text of the kids' survey and the parent's survey.
There were three possible answers on the survey, each of which we gave a score:
Very Little =0, Somewhat =1, A Lot=2.
To be included in a High Laughing group, the sum of the survey taker's answers to questions #3 and #9 had to be 3 or greater.
We found that our survey clearly separated the high from the low laughter households, both for kids and parents. Then we compared the responses from the kids to those from the adults. Our survey showed that the kids were much more affected by the level of laughter in the household than were the parents. For example, when we asked the question "How often do your kids get punished?" the parents from both groups responded almost the same. In contrast, when asked the same question "How often do you get punished?" the kids from Low Laughter households reported that they got punished a lot more than the kids from the High Laughter households reported. Similarly, when asked about the frequency of arguing with parents and friends, responses from the High laughter and Low Laughter parent groups were almost the same, whereas the responses from the High Laughter and Low Laughter kids' groups differed significantly.
The one exception to this is that all the groups agreed that the more time they spend with each other, the more they laugh. Our full results are available here.
Based on our research, we recommend...
1. that families spend more quality time together.
2. that dinnertime is reserved for light conversation and laughter. Talking about chores, homework, etc. during this time should be avoided.
3. that parents attend workshops to learn how laughter affects their children's quality of life (relationships, health, etc.).