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Development and validation of the Trust in Government Measure (TGM)

Burns, Katie, Brown, Patrick R., Calnan, Michael .W., Ward, Paul R., Little, Jerrica, Betini, Gustavo S., Perlman, Christopher M., Godinho Nascimento, Helena, Meyer, Samantha B (2023) Development and validation of the Trust in Government Measure (TGM). BMC Public Health, 23 (1). ISSN 1471-2458. (doi:10.1186/s12889-023-16974-0) (KAR id:103301)

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Background: Trust in government is associated with health behaviours and is an important consideration in population health interventions. While there is a reported decline in public trust in government across OECD countries, the tools used to measure trust are limited in their use for informing action to (re)build trust, and have limitations related to reliability and validity. To address the limitations of existing measures available to track public trust, the aim of the present work was to develop a new measure of trust in government.

Methods: Fifty-six qualitative interviews (Aug-Oct 2021; oversampling for equity-deserving populations) were conducted to design a national survey, including factor analyses and validation testing (N=878; June 1-14th 2022) in Canada.

Results: The measure demonstrated strong internal consistency (α=.96) and test validity (CFI=.96, RMSEA=.09, SRMR=.03), suggesting that trust in government can be measured as a single underlying construct. It also demonstrated strong criterion validity, as measured by significant (p<.0001) associations of scores with vaccine hesitancy, vaccine conspiracy beliefs, COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs, trust in public health messaging about COVID-19, and trust in public health advice about COVID-19. We present the Trust in Government Measure (TGM); a 13-item unidimensional measure of trust in Federal government.

Conclusions: This measure can be used within high-income countries, particularly member countries within the OECD already in support of using tools to collect, publish and compare statistics. Our measure should be used by researchers and policy makers to measure trust in government as a key indicator of societal and public health.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1186/s12889-023-16974-0
Uncontrolled keywords: Trust, OECD, measure, Federal, government, validation
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Funders: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (
Depositing User: Michael Calnan
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2023 15:06 UTC
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2024 15:38 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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Brown, Patrick R..

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Calnan, Michael .W..

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