As compared to the contiguous or conterminous United States, which refers to the 48 states on the North American continent, Hawai‘i does not have a majority White population. Instead, the racial breakdown of the state includes people that are mixed race, White, Filipino, Japanese, Hawai‘ian, Chinese, Korean, African American, Samoan, Other Pacific Islander and more.
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“Black people don’t go to therapy, Joan; we go to church.” So says one woman to her struggling friend on the TV sitcom Girlfriends after her friend admits that she wants to find a therapist. This moment captures an important insight: Identities, like race, gender, and socioecomonic status, are linked to health behaviors. The behaviors that people choose to engage in to promote their health are shaped by what identities come to mind and the strategies for improving health that are linked to those identities.