Trust in the health system: An analysis and extension of the social theories of Giddens and Luhmann

Meyer, Samantha; Ward, Paul; Coveney, John; Rogers, Wendy
August 2008
Health Sociology Review;Aug2008, Vol. 17 Issue 2, p177
Academic Journal
Social theory provides a lens through which we can analyse the role of trust in health systems. However, the majority of theoretically informed trust literature addresses 'institutional' or 'interpersonal' trust individually, failing to investigate trust as determined by a 'web' of mutually interacting relationships between individuals and social systems. Current theoretical assumptions are also problematic as they fail to recognise the role that social factors (such as socio-economic status, class and age) play in an individual's willingness to trust. Through the analysis and critique of existing social theories of trust, this paper demonstrates a need for further empirical research into the multidimensionality of trusting relationships, while suggesting new directions for research in public health.


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