Scores on the Rotter Interpersonal Trust Scale were evaluated as predictors of psychological well-being, functional health, and longevity in a sample of 100 men and women who were between 55 and 80 years old at baseline (mean age 66.8). Cross-sectionally, high levels of trust were associated with better self-rated health and more life satisfaction. Follow-up over approximately 8 years found baseline levels of trust to be positively related to subsequent functional health, but not to subsequent life satisfaction. Mortality follow-up after 14 years demonstrated that those with high levels of trust had longer survival (p = .03), a finding that was somewhat weakened by controlling for baseline health ratings. These findings illustrate the health protective effects of high levels of trust and suggest the potential usefulness of the trust concept for understanding successful aging.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Adams, S. H. (1994). Role of hostility in women's health during midlife: A longitudinal study. Health Psychol. 13: 488–495.
Antonucci, T. C., Fuhrer, R., and Dartigues, J.-F. (1997). Social relations and depressive symptomatology in a sample of community-dwelling French older adults. Psychol. Aging 12: 189–195.
Barefoot, J. C., Beckham, J. C., Haney, T. L., Siegler, I. C., and Lipkus, I. M. (1993). Age differences in hostility among middle-aged and older adults. Psychol. Aging 8: 3–9.
Barefoot, J. C., Larsen, S., Lieth, L., and Schroll, M. (1995). Hostility, incidence of acute myocardial infarction, and mortality in a sample of older Danish men and women. Am. J. Epidemiol. 142: 477–484.
Barefoot, J. C., Peterson, B. L., Dahlstrom, W. G., Siegler, I. C., Anderson, N. B., and Williams, R. B. (1991). Hostility patterns and health implications: Correlates of Cook-Medley hostility scale scores in a national survey. Health Psychol. 10: 18–24.
Barefoot, J. C., Siegler, I. C., Nowlin, J. B., Peterson, B. L., Haney, T. L., and Williams, R. B. (1987). Suspiciousness, health, and mortality: A follow-up study of 500 older adults. Psychosomat. Med. 49: 450–457.
Berkman, L. F. (1995). The role of social relations in health promotion. Psychosomat. Med. 57: 245–255.
Blazer, G. (1982). Social support and mortality in an elderly community population. Am. J. Epidemiol. 115: 684–694.
Botwinick, J. (1966). Cautiousness in advanced age. J. Gerontol. 21: 347–353.
Bradburn, N. M. (1969). The Structure of Psychological Well-Being, Aldine, Chicago.
Busse, E. W., and Maddox, G. L. (1985). The Duke Longitudinal Studies of Normal Aging, Springer, New York.
Calhoun, R. E., and Hutchinson, S. L. (1981). Decision-making in old age: Cautiousness and rigidity. Int. J. Aging Human Devel. 13: 89–98.
Cantril, H. (1965). The Pattern of Human Concerns, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ.
Christensen, A. J., and Smith, T. W. (1993). Cynical hostility and cardiovascular response during self-disclosure. Psychosomat. Med. 58: 150–155.
Cook, W. W., and Medley, D. M. (1954). Proposed hostility and pharasaic-virtue scales for the MMPI. J. Appl. Psychol. 38: 414–418.
Erikson, E. H. (1963). Childhood and Society (2nd Ed.), Norton, New York.
Folkman, S., Lazarus, R. S., Gruen, R. J., and DeLongis, A. (1986). Appraisal, coping, health status, and psychological symptoms. J. Person. Soc. Psychol. 50: 571–579.
George, L. K., and Siegler, I. C. (1982). Stress and coping in later life. Educ. Horizons 60: 147–154.
Grace, G. D., and Schill, T. (1986). Social support and coping style differences in subjects high and low in interpersonal trust. Psychol. Rep. 59: 584–586.
Helmers, K. F., Posluszny, D. M., and Krantz, D. A. (1994). Associations of hostility and coronary artery disease. In Siegman, A. W., and Smith, T. W. (eds.), Anger, Hostility, and the Heart, Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ, pp. 67–96.
Hibbard, J. H. (1985). Social ties and health status: An examination of moderating factors. Health Educ. Quart. 12: 23–34.
Hooker, K., and Siegler, I. C. (1992). Separating apples from oranges in health ratings: Perceived health includes psychological well-being. Behav., Health, Aging 2: 81–92.
Kaplan, G. A., Goldberg, D. E., Everson, J. A., Cohen, R. D., Salonen, R., Tumilehto, J., and Salonen, J. (1996). Perceived health status and morbidity and mortality: Evidence from the Kuopio ischemic heart disease risk factor study. Int. J. Epidemiol. 25: 259–265.
Meichenbaum, D. (1986). Cognitive behavior modiffication. In Kanfer, F. H., and Goldstein, A. P. (eds.), Helping People Change: A Textbook of Methods, Pergamon, New York, pp. 346–380.
Mossey, J. M., and Shapiro, E. (1982). Self-rated health: A predictor of mortality among the elderly. Am. J. Public Health 7: 800–808.
Nickerson, K. J., Helms, J. E., and Terrell, F. (1994). Cultural mistrust, opinions about mental illness, and Black students' attitudes toward seeking psychological help from White counselors. J. Counsel. Psychol. 41: 378–385.
Oxman, T. E., Freeman, D. H., and Manheimer, E. D. (1995). Lack of social participation or religious strength and comfort as risk factors for death after cardiac surgery in the elderly. Psychosomat. Med. 57: 5–16.
Pennebaker, J. W. (1990). Opening up: The Healing Power of Conffiding in Others, Morrow, New York.
Rotter, J. (1967). A new scale for the measurement of interpersonal trust. J. Person. 35: 651–665.
Rotter, J. (1980). Interpersonal trust, trustworthiness, and gullibility. Am. Psychol. 35: 1–7.
Scheier, M. F., Matthews, K. A., Owens, J. F., Magovern, G. J., Lefebvre, R. C., Abbott, R. A., and Carver, C. S. (1989). Dispositional optimism and recovery from coronary artery bypass surgery: The beneficial effects on physical and psychological well-being. J. Person. Soc. Psychol. 57: 1024–1040.
Sharma, T., and Husain, A. (1992). Relationship between marital adjustment and interaction dimensions of personality. Special Series II: Stress, adjustment and death anxiety. J. Person. Clin. Stud. 8: 87–90.
Siegler, I. C. (1983). Psychological aspects of the Duke longitudinal studies. In Schaie, K. W. (ed.), Longitudinal Studies of Adult Psychological Development, Guilford Press, New York, pp. 136–190.
Siegler, I. C. (1994). Hostility and risk: Demographic and lifestyle variables. In Siegman, A. W., and Smith, T. W. (eds.), Anger, Hostility, and the Heart, Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ, pp. 199–214.
Smith, T. W. (1994). Concepts and methods in the study of anger, hostility, and health. In Siegman, A. W., and Smith, T. W. (eds.), Anger, Hostility, and the Heart, Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ, pp. 23–42.
Smith, T. W., and Gallo, L. C. (in press). Personality traits as risk factors for physical illness. In Baum, A., Revenson, T., and Singer, J. (eds.), Handbook of Health Psychology, Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ.
Smith, T. W., Pope, M. K., Sanders, J. D., Allred, K. D., and O'Keefe, J. L. (1988). Cynical hostility at home and work: Psychosocial vulnerability across domains. J. Res. Person. 22: 525–548.
Steel, J. L. (1991). Interpersonal correlates of trust and self-disclosure. Psychol. Rep. 68: 1319–1320.
Watson, W. H. (1991). Ethnicity, crime, and aging: Risk factors and adaptation. Generations 15: 53–57.
Williams, R. B., Barefoot, J. C., Califf, R. M., Haney, T. L., Saunders, W. B., Pryor, D. B., Hlatky, M. A., Siegler, I. C., and Mark, D. B. (1992). Prognostic importance of social and economic resources among medically treated patients with angiographically documented coronary artery disease. J. Am. Med. Assoc. 267: 520–524.