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Social Trust as a Predictor of Opinions on COVID-19 Response

Received: 6 September 2022    Accepted: 5 October 2022    Published: 18 October 2022
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Abstract

Social trust has been found to be an important factor in political participation, although this relationship may be dependent upon context. For instance, political views may be influenced by the groups with whom that trust is formed. Prior work has pointed to the importance of social trust in predicting behaviors related to COVID-19 as well as rates of transmission and containment. Leveraging data from the 2020 American National Election Study, the relationship between interpersonal trust and COVID-19 opinions in the United States is examined, specifically looking at views on state and federal COVID-19 responses, belief in vaccines and hydroxychloroquine, feelings towards Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the belief that COVID-19 was developed in a lab. In addition to Republicans and conservatives, as expected, being more skeptical of COVID-19 restrictions and treatments, interpersonal trust is found to be associated with attitudes that both might be expected to mitigate as well as exacerbate COIVD-19 transmission. Further, the effects of interpersonal trust on COVID-19 attitudes are shown to be filtered through a partisan lens, with differing effects of personal trust for Democratic and Republican party identifiers. Such findings add complexity to the role that social trust plays in political and social behaviors in the context of a pandemic.

Published in Journal of Political Science and International Relations (Volume 5, Issue 4)
DOI 10.11648/j.jpsir.20220504.13
Page(s) 112-116
Creative Commons

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, provided the original work is properly cited.

Copyright

Copyright © The Author(s), 2024. Published by Science Publishing Group

Keywords

American Politics, COVID-19, Social Trust, Survey Research, Partisanship

References
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[2] Matthes, J. (2013). Do Hostile Opinion Environments Harm Political Participation? The Moderating Role of Generalized Social Trust. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 25 (1), 23-42. doi: 10.1093/ijpor/eds006.
[3] Bäck, M., & Christensen, H. S. (2016). When Trust Matters—a Multilevel Analysis of the Effect of Generalized Trust on Political Participation in 25 European Democracies. Journal of Civil Society, 12 (2), 178-197. doi: 10.1080/17448689.2016.1176730.
[4] Hooghe, M., & Marien, S. (2013). A Comparative Analysis of the Relation Between Political Trust and Forms of Political Participation in Europe. European Societies, 15 (1), 131-152. doi: 10.1080/14616696.2012.692807.
[5] Goldstein, D., & Wiedemann, J. (2021). Who Do You Trust? The Consequences of Partisanship and Trust for Public Responsiveness to COVID-19 Orders. Perspectives on Politics, 20 (2), 412-438. doi: 10.1017/S1537592721000049.
[6] COVID-19 National Preparedness Collaborators (2022). Pandemic Preparedness and COVID-19: an Exploratory Analysis of Infection and Fatality Rates, and Contextual Factors Associated with Preparedness in 177 Countries, from Jan 1, 2020, to Sept 30, 2021. Lancet, 339 (10334), 1489-1512. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(22)00172-6.
[7] Bargain, O., & Aminjonov, U. (2020). Trust and Compliance to Public Health Policies in Times of COVID-19. Journal of Public Economics, 192. doi: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2020.104316.
[8] Min, J. (2020). Does Social Trust Slow Down or Speed Up the Transmission of COVID-19? PLoS ONE, 15 (12). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0244273.
[9] Kye, B., & Hwang, S. J. (2020). Social Trust in the Midst of Pandemic Crisis: Implications From COVID-19 of South Korea. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 68. doi: 10.1016/j.rssm.2020.100523.
[10] Woelfert, F., & Kunst, J. (2020). Social Distancing Practiced During COVID-19 in Unexpected Ways. Frontiers in Psychology, 11. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.572966.
[11] Engelhardt, N., Krause, M., Neukirchen, D., & Posch, P. Trust and Stock Market Volatility During the COVID-19 Crisis. Finance Research Letters, 38. doi: 10.1016/j.frl.2020.101873.
[12] Mazumder, S. (2020). How Important is Social Trust During the COVID-19 Crisis Period? Evidence From the Fed Announcements. Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, 28. doi: 10.1016/j.jbef.2020.100387.
[13] Schernhammer, E., Weitzer, J., Laubichler, M., Birmann, B., Bertau, M., Zenk, L., Caniglia, G., Jäger, C., & Steiner, G. (2022). Correlates of COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in Austria: Trust and the Government. Journal of Public Health, 44 (1), e106–e116. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdab122.
[14] Kahan, D., Peters, E., Wittlin, M., Slovic, P., Larrimore Ouellette, L., Braman, D., & Mandel, G. (2012). The Polarizing Impact of Science Literacy and Numeracy on Perceived Climate Change Risks. Nature Climate Change, 2, 732–735. doi: 10.1038/nclimate1547.
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Cite This Article
  • APA Style

    Matthew Kingston Harris. (2022). Social Trust as a Predictor of Opinions on COVID-19 Response. Journal of Political Science and International Relations, 5(4), 112-116. https://doi.org/10.11648/j.jpsir.20220504.13

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    ACS Style

    Matthew Kingston Harris. Social Trust as a Predictor of Opinions on COVID-19 Response. J. Polit. Sci. Int. Relat. 2022, 5(4), 112-116. doi: 10.11648/j.jpsir.20220504.13

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    AMA Style

    Matthew Kingston Harris. Social Trust as a Predictor of Opinions on COVID-19 Response. J Polit Sci Int Relat. 2022;5(4):112-116. doi: 10.11648/j.jpsir.20220504.13

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  • @article{10.11648/j.jpsir.20220504.13,
      author = {Matthew Kingston Harris},
      title = {Social Trust as a Predictor of Opinions on COVID-19 Response},
      journal = {Journal of Political Science and International Relations},
      volume = {5},
      number = {4},
      pages = {112-116},
      doi = {10.11648/j.jpsir.20220504.13},
      url = {https://doi.org/10.11648/j.jpsir.20220504.13},
      eprint = {https://article.sciencepublishinggroup.com/pdf/10.11648.j.jpsir.20220504.13},
      abstract = {Social trust has been found to be an important factor in political participation, although this relationship may be dependent upon context. For instance, political views may be influenced by the groups with whom that trust is formed. Prior work has pointed to the importance of social trust in predicting behaviors related to COVID-19 as well as rates of transmission and containment. Leveraging data from the 2020 American National Election Study, the relationship between interpersonal trust and COVID-19 opinions in the United States is examined, specifically looking at views on state and federal COVID-19 responses, belief in vaccines and hydroxychloroquine, feelings towards Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the belief that COVID-19 was developed in a lab. In addition to Republicans and conservatives, as expected, being more skeptical of COVID-19 restrictions and treatments, interpersonal trust is found to be associated with attitudes that both might be expected to mitigate as well as exacerbate COIVD-19 transmission. Further, the effects of interpersonal trust on COVID-19 attitudes are shown to be filtered through a partisan lens, with differing effects of personal trust for Democratic and Republican party identifiers. Such findings add complexity to the role that social trust plays in political and social behaviors in the context of a pandemic.},
     year = {2022}
    }
    

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Author Information
  • Department of History, Political Science, and Interdisciplinary Studies, Park University, Parkville, USA

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