Risk & Trust

MacKinnon, S. L., & Boon, S. D. (2012). Protect the individual or protect the relationship? A dual-focus model of indirect risk exposure, trust, and caution. Journal Of Social And Personal Relationships, 29(2), 262-283.


Abstract: The current study extends work by both Boon and Holmes (1999) and Murray, Holmes and Collins (2006) by providing a theoretical model and the first experimental examination of the connection between more subtle forms of risk exposure and the levels of trust third-party evaluators have in their own partners when giving advice to others about their relationship difficulties. One hundred and fifty-two participants initially completed trust and self-esteem scales. They returned to the laboratory one week later and read either a narrative designed to prime the risks inherent in romantic relationships or a control narrative. All participants then read and evaluated an account of events that occurred in someone else’s romantic relationship and gave advice to the victim. The results of our study suggest that indirect risk exposure and trust, in combination, do significantly predict initial evaluations of the event, the attribution of responsibility and blame, focus of caution, and advice to the victim. The only exception to this pattern was the absence of an interaction between risk and trust on our measures of suspicion and desire for further information. A dual-focus model of indirect risk exposure, trust, and caution is proposed.

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