Particularized trust, generalized trust, and immigrant self-rated health: cross-national analysis of World Values Survey

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Objectives: This research examined the associations between two types of trust, generalized and particularized, and self-rated health among immigrants. Study design: Data were drawn from the World Values Survey (WVS6), the latest wave of cross-sectional surveys based on face-to-face interviews. Methods: The immigrant subsample analyzed herein contains 3108 foreign-born individuals clustered from 51 countries. Given the hierarchically nested data, two-level logistic regressions models were estimated using HLM (Hierarchical Linear Modeling) 7.1. Results: At the individual level, net of socio-economic and demographic factors (age, gender, marital status, education, income, neighborhood security, and subjective well-being), particularized trust was positively related to physical health (odds ratio [OR] = 1.11, P <.001). Generalized trust, however, was not a significant predictor. At the country level, based on alternative models, the aggregate measure of particularized trust was negatively associated with subjective health. The odds of being healthy were on average about 30% lower. Conclusion: The interdisciplinary literature on social determinants of health has largely focused on the salubrious impact of trust and other forms of social capital on physical well-being. Many previous studies based on general, not immigrant, populations also did not differentiate between generalized and particularized types of trust. Results from this study suggest that this conceptual distinction is critical in understanding how and to what extent the two are differentially related to immigrant well-being across multiple levels of analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-101
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health
StatePublished - May 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Royal Society for Public Health


  • Generalized trust
  • Immigrants
  • Multilevel models
  • Particularized trust
  • Self-rated health
  • World Values Survey


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