“Finding light in the darkness”: exploring comedy as an intervention for eating disorder recovery

Declercq, Dieter; Kafle, Eshika; Peters, Jade; Raby, Sam; Chawner, Dave; Blease, James and Foy, Una (2024). “Finding light in the darkness”: exploring comedy as an intervention for eating disorder recovery. Mental Health Review Journal, 29(1) pp. 110–126.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/MHRJ-08-2023-0045


Eating disorders (EDs) remain a major health concern, and their incidence has further increased since the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the equally increasing demands on treatments and service provision and the high levels of relapse post-treatment, it is important that research explore novel and innovative interventions that can further support recovery for individuals with EDs. There is growing evidence that arts interventions are beneficial for recovery from EDs. This study aims to evaluate the feasibility of conducting a stand-up comedy course to support ED recovery.

The study used a qualitative interview study design to evaluate the recovery benefits of participating in stand-up comedy workshops for a pilot group of people in recovery from EDs (n = 10).

The comedy intervention was well-attended and had high acceptability and feasibility. For most individuals, participating in the course had a positive impact, including promoting personal recovery (PR) outcomes across all five elements of the CHIME framework. Unique assets of the course included providing participants with an opportunity to distance themselves from everyday worries of living with an ED; the opportunity to cognitively reframe situations by making them the object of humour; and providing a safe space to (re-)build a positive sense of self.

This is the first study, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, that evaluates stand-up comedy workshops for ED recovery and further demonstrates the potential of arts interventions and the relevance of PR frameworks in this field.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions