Trust, health, and longevity

J Behav Med. 1998 Dec;21(6):517-26. doi: 10.1023/a:1018792528008.


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.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Attitude*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Longevity*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality / physiology*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Psychological Tests
  • Sex Distribution