The dynamics of interpersonal trust: Implications for care at times of psychological crisis


“Trust” can describe many different positive features of our social relationships with others. In this exploratory paper, we reflect on some of the ways in which people orient themselves toward others in the context of a psychological crisis, a time when trust may be threatened or eroded. We draw upon qualitative data extracts from two previously reported studies, in order to illustrate and develop some observations about the dynamics of relational trust during such periods of acute distress. We show how these dynamics arise out of particular contexts and have particular consequences for psychological health. We discuss how, in a relationship mediated by trust, it can sometimes be an act of care–toward self, or toward others–to filter and limit the extent of what one entrusts to another. We suggest that further consideration by philosophers can be very helpful to the mental health field here, if we are to understand the negotiation of interpersonal trust in the context of mental health crises. We note that it would be extremely helpful to understand more about how to create the kinds of environments which afford trust.

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Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences > Aston Institute of Health & Neurodevelopment (AIHN)
College of Health & Life Sciences
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript version of the following article, accepted for publication in Philosophical Psychology. Michael Larkin & Zoë Boden-Stuart (2024) The dynamics of interpersonal trust: Implications for care at times of psychological crisis, Philosophical Psychology, DOI: 10.1080/09515089.2024.2302985. It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Trust,mental health,qualitative,Philosophy,Applied Psychology
Publication ISSN: 0951-5089
Last Modified: 17 May 2024 07:22
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2024 15:37
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Related URLs: https://www.tan ... 89.2024.2302985 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2024
Published Online Date: 2024-01-10
Accepted Date: 2023-10-13
Authors: Larkin, Michael (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-3304-7000)
Boden‐Stuart, Zoë V. R.



Version: Accepted Version

Access Restriction: Restricted to Repository staff only until 10 July 2025.

License: Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial

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