An abundance of research has investigated well-being as it relates to religiosity and positive traits, with most research indicating that both relate to improvements in well-being. Moreover, several studies provide evidence for statistically significant relationships between religiosity and specific positive traits, including forgiveness and gratitude. However, few research studies have investigated how increases in positive traits might explain why religiosity enhances well-being. In addition, few studies within the religious and positive psychological literature have included adequate sampling from ethnic/racial minority populations residing in the U.S. As a result, investigations on how ethnic identity interacts with religious and positive psychological variables are virtually nonexistent. This study addressed these areas by investigating whether the positive traits of forgiveness and gratitude mediate the relationship between religious commitment and well-being among Polynesian Americans--a fast growing, yet understudied, American population. This study also investigated whether a Polynesian American's ethnic identity moderates the relationship between religious commitment and the positive traits of forgiveness and gratitude. 627 Polynesian-identified individuals residing in the U.S. completed a 40-minute online survey that contained positive trait, ethnic identity, and well-being measures. Data analyses showed that forgiveness and gratitude traits mediated the statistical relationship between religious commitment and self-esteem. Gratitude was also shown to partially mediate the relationship between religious commitment and satisfaction with life. Moreover, data analyses did not support the hypothesis that ethnic identity would moderate the relationship between religious commitment, forgiveness, and gratitude. This study provides specific implications for clinical research among Polynesian Americans.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





Keywords: religious commitment, religiosity, forgiveness, gratitude, Polynesian, well-being



Included in

Education Commons