THE EFFECTS OF INTERPERSONAL TRUST AND GROUP STATUS ON PROSOCIAL AND AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIORS

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Abstract:

Preliminary evidence suggests that interpersonal trust is associated with both aggression and prosocial behavior, but little research has been conducted to investigate these relationships in nonclinical samples. It has been suggested by Scott (1980) that general trust is not as useful in predicting behavior in organizational settings as is situational trust. However, if moderated by in-group - out-group status, general trust may be useful in predicting general response tendencies such as aggressive and prosocial behaviors. Building on the norm of reciprocity as described by Kaufmann (1970) and Rushton (1980), it was hypothesized that: a) subjects identified as high trusters would show low levels of aggression and high levels of prosocial behaviors towards both in- and outgroup members; b) low trusters would show high levels of aggression and low levels of prosocial behavior towards both in- and out-groups members; and c) moderate trusters would show lower levels of aggression towards the in-group than towards the outgroup and higher levels of prosocial behavior towards the in-group than towards the out-group. These hypotheses were not confirmed. Participants reported higher levels of prosocial behavior towards the in-group than towards the out-group, regardless of the level of trust. Group differences also emerged on the aggression measures regardless of trust level. Trend analyses revealed that as trust h∼creases, overall prosocial behavior increases.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1996.24.2.169

Publication date: January 1, 1996

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