The Spanish language may help solve a health mystery called the Hispanic Paradox

C C Offline

EXCERPTS: About 30 years ago, researchers reported that Hispanics in the United States lived longer and had lower rates of heart disease than their non-Hispanic white counterparts. This is despite having high prevalence of risk factors for heart disease, such as obesity and diabetes, and experiencing stress from discrimination and low wages.

[...] This seeming paradox between Hispanics’ higher health risk yet lower overall rate of heart disease came to be called the Hispanic Paradox. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hispanics lived on average three years longer than their white counterparts, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

[...] That led me to the realization that the source of the resilience seen in the Hispanic Paradox did not necessarily come from the safety net of family. I next turned my attention to other cultural resources such as social support and optimism, factors that may buffer the impact of stress...

[...] In other words, the rich and positive emotion lexicon of the Spanish language may not only influence culture over time, but also influence our emotional reaction to stress.

[...] However, it may not only be the positive words that are contributing to better cardiovascular health in Hispanic populations. There are other features of the language that facilitate emotional expression...

[...] Spanish is one romance language that makes use of the subjunctive form of verbs. The subjunctive expresses hypothetical situations, wishes and possibilities. For instance, consider the “magical realism” of the Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez. His use of the subjunctive facilitated the possibility of alternative realities.

The Spanish language’s ability to minimize and exaggerate by the simple addition of a suffix also increases the range of emotions and perceptions. This is how the therapist in the example helped his patient persevere through a difficult phase of therapy.

While English is the language of science – precise and succinct – my hunch is that the flowery nature of Spanish contributes to a culture that supports emotional expression. In doing so, it can help its speakers manage the responses to stress... (MORE - missing details)
Magical Realist Offline
It would be interesting to see if this wellness of a specific demographic applies also to speakers of other "romantic" languages like French and Italian. But then other factors may be involved like diet and lifestyle.

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