Examining Psychological Correlates and Indirect Effects of Forgiveness on Racial Discrimination among Polynesian American Emerging Adults

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  • Emily Tanner Brigham Young University
  • G. E. Kawika Allen Brigham Young University David O. McKay School of Education http://orcid.org/0000-0002-0009-8170
  • Ellie L. Young Brigham Young University
  • Erika Feinauer Brigham Young University
  • Caitlin Ure Brigham Young University




racial discrimination, forgiveness, psychological health, Polynesian emerging adults.


There is a lack of research on the effects of racial discrimination on the mental health of emerging Polynesian American adults. Broadly, the aim was to examine the intersections of racial discrimination, depression, anxiety, stress, self-esteem, anger, forgiveness, and satisfaction with life in a sample of 423 Polynesian emerging adults through an online Qualtrics survey. Specifically, this study also sought to examine the effects of racial discrimination and the indirect effects of forgiveness on mental health among this Polynesian American group. Elevated experiences of racial discrimination were linked to increased levels of anger as well as negative psychological outcomes including depression, anxiety, and stress. Furthermore, experiences of racial discrimination were inversely correlated with forgiveness and self-esteem. Participants with a high school education or less were more likely to report experiences of racial discrimination. Forgiveness mediated the relationship between racial discrimination and depression, anxiety, stress, and satisfaction with life. Implications are provided regarding the psychological impacts of racial discrimination among Polynesian emerging adults. 


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Author Biographies

Emily Tanner, Brigham Young University

Department of Counseling Psychology and Special Education

G. E. Kawika Allen, Brigham Young University David O. McKay School of Education

Professor Allen received his BS in speech/organizational communication and his MS in counseling psychology at the University of Utah. He then received his PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia (a top-ranked program) and completed his predoctoral clinical internship at Duke University. His research areas involve spiritual, cultural, and indigenous ways of healing in psychotherapy including culturally appropriate psychotherapies and interventions for underserved populations. Specifically, Professor Allen has focused much of his research on the intersections of religiosity/spirituality, coping/collectivistic coping, depression, anxiety, and psychological well-being/adjustment among Polynesians/Polynesian Americans. Professor Allen leads the Poly Psi Team research efforts involving not only Polynesian Psychology Research, but research across all BIPOC and minoritized groups. He is currently an assistant professor in the counseling psychology doctorate program at Brigham Young University.

Ellie L. Young, Brigham Young University

Department of Counseling Psychology and Special Education

Erika Feinauer, Brigham Young University

Teacher Education Department

Caitlin Ure, Brigham Young University

Department of Counseling Psychology and Special Education


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How to Cite

Tanner, E., Allen, G. E. K., Young, E. L., Feinauer, E., & Ure, C. (2022). Examining Psychological Correlates and Indirect Effects of Forgiveness on Racial Discrimination among Polynesian American Emerging Adults. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 9(2), 134–150. https://doi.org/10.29333/ejecs/1017



Original Manuscript
Received 2021-11-11
Accepted 2022-04-10
Published 2022-04-30