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“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, Foye, Una (2024) “Finding light in the darkness”: exploring comedy as an intervention for eating disorder recovery. Mental Health Review Journal, . ISSN 1361-9322. E-ISSN 2042-8758. (KAR id:104537)


Eating disorders 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 high levels of relapse post-treatment, it is important that research explores novel and innovative interventions that can further support recovery for individuals with eating disorders. There is growing evidence that arts interventions are beneficial for recovery from eating disorders. This study evaluates the feasibility of conducting a stand-up comedy course to support eating disorder 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 eating disorders (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 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 eating disorder; 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 evaluating stand-up comedy workshops for eating disorder recovery and further demonstrates the potential of arts interventions and the relevance of personal recovery frameworks in this field.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: mental health; recovery; eating disorders; CHIME; comedy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1969.C65 Comedy acts. Stand-up comedy
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
Funders: British Academy (
Depositing User: Dieter Declercq
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2024 17:40 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2024 14:08 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Declercq, Dieter.

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Kafle, Eshika.

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