Historically, the multicultural psychology literature has focused primarily on Latinos/as, Asian Americans, African Americans, and Native American Indians, and those groups are represented in general psychology research (Case & Smith, 2000).
Polynesian Americans have been substantially underrepresented in all aspects of psychological research. A few studies have examined Native Hawaiians and/or Pacific Islanders in general (McCubbin, 2006; McCubbin & Dang, 2010; McCubbin, Ishikawa & McCubbin, 2007), but very little empirical investigation has specifically focused on Polynesian Americans, particularly their psychological well-being and psychotherapy interventions and strategies in the mainland United States (Allen et al, 2016; Allen, Garriott, Reyes & Hsieh, 2013; Allen & Heppner, 2011; Allen, Kim, Smith & Hafoka, 2016).
For decades, Polynesian Americans have been lumped under the Asian American/Pacific Islander census category, but they represent a group that is unique culturally, historically, linguistically, and religiously. In order to obtain accurate and valid research findings on Polynesian Americans, this "ethnic lumping" (Allen, Kim, Smith & Hafoka, 2016) and oversimplifying/categorizing of ethnic groups needs to be addressed and resolved. Research about Polynesian Americans can not only provide necessary descriptions of unique and specific cultural characteristics but also facilitate understanding of specific psychological processes and psychotherapies within the Polynesian American cultural context (e.g., Allen et al, 2016; Allen & Smith, 2015; Allen, Kim, Smith & Hafoka, 2016; McCubbin, 2006).