Racial Discrimination and Psychological Health Among Polynesians in the U.S.

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Abstract

Objectives: There is a dearth of research on the mental health of Polynesians residing in the United States. The aims of this study were to examine experiences of racial discrimination, self-esteem, trait anger, satisfaction with life, and psychological well-being among 628 Polynesians (e.g., Native Hawaiian, Tongan, Samoan, Fijian, Tahitian, Maori; 60% women (n = 378) and 40% men (n = 249); mean age = 28.7). Method: Measures were administered through an online survey to 628 Polynesians residing in the United States. Comparison analyses between men and women, correlations, and path analyses were analyzed for this Polynesian sample. Results: Polynesian women showed higher levels of self-esteem and lower levels of depression and anxiety. Racial discrimination was inversely correlated with self-esteem and satisfaction with life, and positively linked to trait anger, depression, anxiety, and stress. Self-esteem had an indirect effect on the relationship between racial discrimination and satisfaction with life. Conclusions: Mental health professionals need to be aware of racial discrimination on psychological health and incorporate the value of self-esteem in the psychological treatment of Polynesians. Additional results are provided and implications of these findings are outlined.

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