Measuring Social Trust: Two New Approaches

40 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2018

Date Written: July 11, 2018


The Stranger-Face Trust (SFT) questionnaire and the Imaginary Stranger Trust (IST) questionnaire are two new self-report measures of social trust that assess trust in real (SFT) and imaginary (IST) strangers across four trust domains. To assess measurement validity and reliability, SFT and IST along with other common measures of social trust, sociodemographic characteristics, biographical characteristics, and a survey experiment were administered to a large representative sample of Qualtrics web-panel members (N = 2041). Confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation models established the internal consistency, convergent validity, discriminant validity, and criterion validity of SFT and IST. Common correlates of social trust were associated with SFT and IST, indicating that some prior findings were robust to valid and reliable measures of social trust, while other correlates like the age-trust relation were called into question. The article ends with a discussion of the implications and directions for future research.

Keywords: social trust, generalized trust, measurement validation, confirmatory factor analysis

Suggested Citation

Robbins, Blaine, Measuring Social Trust: Two New Approaches (July 11, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Blaine Robbins (Contact Author)

New York University Abu Dhabi ( email )

PO Box 129188
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

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