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Journal Article

Citation

Rahn WM, Kwang Suk Yoon , Garet M, Lipson S, Loflin K. Am. Behav. Sci. 2009; 52(12): 1646-1663.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2009, SAGE Publishing)

DOI

10.1177/0002764209331531

PMID

unavailable

Abstract

Generalized social trust is an important component of social capital and has been linked to a variety of individual- and community-level outcomes, including low crime rates, effective government, and healthy and happy citizens. Drawing on a multicommunity survey conducted in several American towns and cities in 2002, the authors examine the individual and contextual origins of general social trust using the techniques of Hierarchical Linear Modeling. Based on prevailing theoretical understandings of social trust, the authors posit a comprehensive model to account for the contextual variation that remains after controlling for individual-level variables. Two community-level variables, voter turnout and commute times, emerge as important contextual predictors of social trust. The authors explore community attachment as a potential mediator of these effects, finding that it partially mediates the impact of commuting but not voter turnout, results consistent with their distinction between "experiential" and "cultural" theories of social trust formation.

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