Kommer tid kommer tillit? : Unga vuxnas och medelålders erfarenheter

Sammanfattning: Even though Sweden is considered a high trust society, research on this topic is primarily based on a few standardized survey questions. It is also known that there is a robust pattern of less trustful young people compared to older ones. Still, a satisfactory explanation of this fact is lacking. Thus, the first aim of this dissertation is to map trust among young adults and middle-aged individuals. The second aim is to examine by which factors and in what way different dimensions of trust are determined, focusing on individuals’ life course and consequently experiences. Analytical principles from the life course tradition are used as a theoretical framework.Data is derived from a Swedish cross-sectional nationally representative postal survey on trust, and qualitative interviews using a mixed-methods approach.A multi-dimensional concept of trust is suggested. Participants report relatively high levels of trust in known and unknown people, confidence in institutions, normative notions of trust, security, and trustful behaviour. Trust also seems to be structured according to a closeness principle. Young adults display lower trust levels in general. However, in some respects the pattern is reversed, particularly regarding domains they are expected to be more familiar with.Contrary to the well-established idea of generalised trust derived from predispositions and primary socialization, and particularised trust originating from experiences in adulthood, the results of this study suggest that unique combinations of factors, both individual characteristics and experiences, might explain each of the different dimensions. Often there is a sphere-specific relationship between experiences and later trust, i.e. experiences from one sphere of life seem to exclusively affect trust within the same sphere. It is suggested that as people grow older they accumulate what is called experience capital, which might benefit trust and contribute to an explanation of the age differences.

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