Trust is a disposition toward others, toward institutions, and toward the world that reflects confidence in those entities and a belief in their good will. The essence of trust is the belief that others are fair and would not cause harm; consequently, there is no need to be vigilant or guarded toward them.

Scholarly work on trust has been the province primarily of psychology and sociology. Psychologists typically focus on trust in interpersonal relationships and sociologists on trust in institutions and in the generalized other, the latter known as social trust. This entry takes a life-span perspective on trust, discussing its foundations in infancy and peer relationships, tracing its development through adolescence and adulthood as social realities such as discrimination inform beliefs about others and about ...

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