Swearing 'can help to relieve pain'

People who swear infrequently may find that using foul language helps to relieve pain, new research suggests.Dr Richard Stephens and Claudia Umland of Keele University found, however, that those who use such words regularly will not feel the benefit as much as those who rarely utter expletives.

As part of the research, 71 participants filled in a questionnaire regarding swearing frequency, while their pain tolerance was assessed by seeing the length of time that they could keep their hands submerged in icy water.

Dr Stephens said: "There is evidence that if you swear too often in everyday situations the power of swearing won't be there when you really might need it."

He added that while he does not advocate the use of such language, it should be tolerated when people hurt themselves.

The pair are to present their research at the British Psychological Society's Annual Conference in Glasgow, which runs between May 4th and 6th.

Paul Gilbert, a Chartered Psychologist and a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, recently observed that people who talk nicely to themselves often find the practice is of much benefit.