Study shows the coping benefit of dark humour

Dr Duncan Reavey and Dr Linda Cooper, with the winning 2017 TEAN award trophy

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POLICE and paramedics use dark humour as a way of coping with the death and destruction they deal with on a daily basis, according to Portsmouth researchers.

Dr Sarah Charman, of the University of Portsmouth’s Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, has been looking into the role of black humour in the workplace of ambulance crews and police officers.

The study has found it provides comfort and creates a bond that crosses the occupational divide between the emergency services.

Dr Charman said: ‘Emergency workers frequently find themselves in unpleasant and unpredictable situations at odds with the heroic status and image presented in television dramas.

‘It is often a case of if you didn’t laugh, you’d cry. Both have a tension-reducing effect but it’s not socially acceptable for professionals to cry.’