There is a need for more psychological studies that inform culture-specific adaptations in psychotherapy among Polynesian Americans. The use of humor has been identified as a potential adaptation in psychotherapy. Humor can be a catalyst for building and strengthening a healthy working alliance between counselor and client. The utilization of humor in therapy has significantly reduced mental health-seeking stigma. Evidence of the use of humor exists among Polynesian people prior to western colonization of Polynesia which suggests humor to be a culturally salient practice. The current study explored attitudes of seeking mental health counseling among Polynesian Americans while investigating the potential predictive relationship of humor coping and humor production on depression, stress, anxiety. The current study reports the findings of Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA), Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) and Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). Moreover, the psychometric properties of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale--21 (DASS-21), the Attitudes Toward Seeking Professional Help (ATSPH), and Multidimensional Sense of Humor Scale (MSHS) among Polynesian Americans were investigated. Overall Polynesian American participants n= 613 reported a significant positive relationship between the level of negative mental health states of depression, anxiety, stress, and the level of willingness toward seeking professional help. Another main finding was the significant relationship between these negative mental health states with and higher levels of skepticism towards seeking professional help. Humor coping was found to be a salient practice among male participants as well as with participants 18 to 29 years of age. Social humor production and personal humor production were marked preferences among participants 18 to 49 years of age. These findings suggest an urgent need for the development and implementation of culture-specific adaptations in psychotherapy among Polynesian Americans.



College and Department

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



Date Submitted


Document Type





Polynesian American, humor, mental health stigma



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Education Commons