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PLoS One. 2019 Apr 10;14(4):e0214117. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0214117. eCollection 2019.

No laughing matter: Latinas' high quality of conversations relate to behavioral laughter.

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Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, United States of America.
Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, United States of America.
School of Psychology, University of Costa Rica, San José, San Pedro, Costa Rica.
Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America.
Department of Psychology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pennsylvania, United States of America.


Latinx in the United States have greater life expectancy than other groups, in spite of their socioeconomic and psychosocial disadvantage. This phenomenon has been described as the Latinx health paradox. This investigation observed the interplay of cultural processes and social networks to shed light on this paradox. Latina (N = 26) and White-European (N = 24) mothers wore a digital recorder as they went about their daily lives. Four conversation styles were characterized from the recordings to measure the mothers' quality of their conversations (small talk and substantive conversations) within different social networks (with the father vs. other adults). As a positive indicator of well-being, laughter was assessed during the conversations. Results demonstrated that Latina mothers tend to laugh more than White-European mothers; and that this relation is mediated by substantive conversations with others. This suggests that Latinas' cultural processes afford meaningful conversations, which relates to more behavioral laughter, a process that may have positive implications on well-being.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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