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New paper: Trust in times of crises

Trust is needed for collaboration and fosters constructive responses to crises. A cross-sectional study, co-authored by Gudio Caniglia, delved into the associates of interpersonal trust during crises, focusing on the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 crisis witnessed a decline in trust within societies, potentially exacerbated by pandemic-induced social isolation. This erosion of trust extends beyond personal relationships to encompass democratic institutions and scientific establishments. The rise of antidemocratic movements, fueled by conspiracy theories and mistrust, underscores the urgency of addressing this issue.

Hence, the study, which involved 3,065 German-speaking adults from the D-A-CH region, explores the intricate web of factors influencing interpersonal trust. The study identified various determinants of trust, ranging from established factors like age and education to novel contributors such as optimism and complexity thinking. The findings carry significant implications for societal engagement, suggesting targeted strategies to strengthen interpersonal trust in the face of crises. Cultivating optimism and complexity thinking, especially in educational institutions, were highlighted as means to build trust in our societies and can thus reinforce the role of scientific institutions in fostering democratic societies.

Publication: Schernhammer ES, Weitzer J, Han E, Bertau M, Zenk L, Caniglia G, et al. (2023) Determinants of trust in times of crises: A crosssectional study of 3,065 German-speaking adults from the D-A-CH region. PLoS ONE 18(10):e0286488.