December 1, 2022

rbrs_0257Researchers at the Keele University’s School of Psychology have found that uttering a string of expletives can actually lessen the effect of pain.

Dr Richard Stephens, who led the research, suggests that swearing may provoke a “fight or flight” response in people, with their heightened aggression helping them cope with pain.

The results may shed new light on to why some people feel the need to turn the air blue when they hit their thumb with a hammer.

Dr Stephens said he first got the idea for the study after his wife gave birth to their daughter.

He said: “There was a point in the labour where my wife was ‘effing and jeffing’ quite a lot.

“That got me thinking about how pain and swearing always seem to go together, and yet there had not been any research done in that area.”

In the experiment, which Dr Stephens carried out with colleagues John Atkins and Andrew Kingston, 67 student volunteers were asked to submerge their hands in ice water for as long as they could.

In one set of tests they were told to repeat a swear word of their choice, while in another they had to repeat a more commonplace word which they would use to describe a table.

The results showed that in nearly all cases, the volunteers were able to cope with the cold water for longer while they were swearing.

On average men could last 191 seconds while swearing, compared with 147 seconds when not swearing, while in women the difference was 120 seconds compared with 83.

18 thoughts on “Swearing Eases Pain?

  1. any research that promotes the occasional f-bomb must have its merits, I guess its all to do with steess relief which sex could be another good alternative

  2. You know, I take a whole lot of flak from the rest of the family but now I see that I have support that the”effing & jeffing” does help a lot!

  3. I’m so glad that I always knew that swearing easies pain. I’m 72 years old and still life and kicking (and swearing when ever I can, just to lengthen my days)

  4. To me, this study feels like they are looking for a specific result, and – lo and behold – that’s what they get! Anyway, if swearing makes you feel better, then by all means go ahead :).

  5. So how come I’m effing and jeffing on the golf course when there’s no pain involved other than the ball never going in the direction that you are aiming? On a more serious note I tend to use the f word quite a bit when I have to run suddenly and fast, like from a dog!

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