Trust is vital to public confidence in health and science, yet there is no consensus on the most useful way to conceptualize, define, measure, or intervene on trust and its related constructs (e.g., mistrust, distrust, and trustworthiness). In this review, we synthesize literature from this wide-ranging field that has conceptual roots in racism, marginalization, and other forms of oppression. We summarize key definitions and conceptual frameworks and offer guidance to scholars aiming to measure these constructs. We also review how trust-related constructs are associated with health outcomes, describe interventions in this field, and provide recommendations for building trust and institutional trustworthiness and advancing health equity. We ultimately call for future efforts to focus on improving the trustworthiness of public health professionals, scientists, health care providers, and systems instead of aiming to increase trust in these entities as they currently exist and behave.

Expected final online publication date for the , Volume 45 is April 2024. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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