Resilience, family adversity and well-being among Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian adolescents

Barry S. Carlton, Deborah A. Goebert, Robin H. Miyamoto, Naleen N. Andrade, Earl S. Hishinuma, George K. Makini, Noelle Y.C. Yuen, Cathy K. Bell, Laurie D. McCubbin, Iwalani R.N. Else, Stephanie T. Nishimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Background: Minorities and indigenous peoples are likely to have poor mental health and physical outcomes. This study examines resiliency indicators in Hawaiian adolescents. Aims: Multiple resiliency indicators were examined across different domains including individual, family and community in relation to increased psychological well-being. Methods: Existing data from the Native Hawaiian Mental Health Research Development Program (NHMHRDP) were used. These data included information from a community sample of five high schools on three islands from the state of Hawai'i. The sample included 1,832 students, where 64% were Native Hawaiian and 36% were non-Hawaiian. Results: This study found that Native Hawaiian youth experienced more family adversity compared with non-Hawaiians, but Native Hawaiians were also more likely to have higher levels of family support. For internalizing symptomatology, the most robust resiliency factors were family support and physical fitness/health for Native Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian adolescents. For externalizing symptomatology, achievement and family support were consistently strong resiliency factors. The indicator for physical fitness and health was more influential among Native Hawaiians than non-Hawaiians for externalizing symptoms, while academic achievement was more influential among non-Hawaiians than for Native Hawaiians for the protection against internalizing symptoms. Conclusions: Our findings support the need for intervention programs designed to promote resilience in adolescents, including highlighting the importance of the family. Further research is needed to design and evaluate programs that promote well-being, enhance resilience and improve mental health in culturally appropriate ways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-308
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Social Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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