Polynesian American college students, university counseling centers, college student psychological adjustment, counseling utilization


This study examined psychotherapy utilization, presenting concerns, reported distress levels, and psychotherapy outcomes among Polynesian American students presenting for services at a counseling center at a large inter-mountain university on the mainland U.S. We collected data at intake, during therapy sessions, and at termination for 415 Polynesian American students over a 17-year period. Utilization results indicate no difference, but Polynesian American students were equally likely to utilize counseling services as European American students but were more likely to drop out earlier than European American students. At intake these students presented with shared higher numbers of presenting concerns and greater levels of self-reported emotional and psychological distress than did European American students. Implications for counseling center programs and services are discussed.

Original Publication Citation

Allen, G. E., Cox, J., Smith, T. B., Hafoka, O., Griner, D., & Beecher, M. (2016). Psychotherapy utilization and presenting concerns among Polynesian American college students. The Counseling Psychologist, 44, 28-49.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Sage Publications




David O. McKay School of Education


Counseling Psychology and Special Education

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor