trust, social trust, political trust, social capital, civic participation, associations, social groups, political groups, political interest, civic activism, trust-in-government


People in society with high levels of generalized social trust and political trust are more likely to engage in civic activism and participation. Therefore, people involved in social and political groups will likely have higher levels of generalized social and political trust than the general public. What lacks in this realm of scholarship is a solid comparison of trust among people involved in social and political groups. This case-study analysis of generalized social trust and political trust among social and political groups shows the trust that is not only generated within each group, but also which types of groups are more effective at developing citizens that participate in society. Using a researcher-designed survey instrument, two social groups and two political groups have been evaluated and compared to demonstrate members' propensity to trust others in society and those in political office at all levels of government. Sample size is 115 respondents. Among other demographic data analyzed and compared to a larger population data set in the World Values Survey, six hypotheses have been tested. Typical analysis shows demographic data or group membership as the independent variable with trust values acting as the dependent variable. Graphic and cross-tabular data show that social groups recorded higher levels of political trust than political groups. This is probably due to the ideological leanings of the political groups. Political groups showed higher levels of generalized social trust than social groups. Political group members probably feel that their actions are benefiting the greater good. Additionally, participation variables showed that not only are political group members more interested in politics than social group members, but they also have higher levels of registering to vote and to participate in the voting process. They are probably seeking to make significant change in the political system through their actions. The research conducted does not seek to provide a comprehensive analysis of trust among members of social and political groups. However, it is intended to promote the analysis of trust among people in society that have a predisposition to trust as they have shown through the act of participating in a social or political group. As foci for the development of trust, analysis of social and political groups provides a shortcut for scholars interested in the development and proliferation of trust in society. This research provides analysis of four case-study groups at one point in time. Further research using larger sample sizes and time-series analysis could advance trust analysis among social and political groups.


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Graduation Date





Pollock, Philip


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Sciences


Political Science

Degree Program

Political Science








Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)