Community Trust: A Social Indicator Related to Community Engagement

  • Immacolata Di NapoliEmail author
  • Pasquale Dolce
  • Caterina Arcidiacono


A review of the literature has highlighted that some studies have defined an indicator of trust regarding one’s geographical community, but that few studies refer to the community, in relation to the role of its social interactions used to attain and promote personal and collective planning. Therefore, this study introduced community trust as a composite indicator used to measure community opportunities, as perceived by citizens, in addition to discovering their local culture. A third-order construct model was proposed, specifying community trust as a multidimensional construct, which is composed of two different domains: Community Action Orientation and Community Future Opportunities (CFO). Each domain was considered separately, although they are integral parts of community trust. The results showed that the proposed model performs well in measuring community trust. All blocks of variables indicated good internal consistency, and factor analysis results were consistent with the hypothesized dimensions in each block. Furthermore, the social ties indicator, known as sense of community, was measured using the Italian-version of the Sense of Community Scale. Factor analysis was applied to analyze data and to provide an indicator for sense of community. Finally, through a logistic regression, the relationship between both community trust and sense of community with community engagement were analyzed. We found that community trust is significantly associated with community engagement, while sense of community is not. The proposed community trust indicator offers some guidance to urban planners and local governments, when promoting urban development, social empowerment, and community wellbeing.


Community trust Sense of community Community engagement Urban size 


Supplementary material

11205_2019_2114_MOESM1_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 13 kb)


  1. Anderson, M. (2009). Beyond membership: A sense of community and political behaviour. Political Behavior, 31(4), 603–627. Scholar
  2. André, S. (2014). Does trust mean the same for migrants and natives? Testing measurement models of political trust with multi-group confirmatory factor analysis. Social Indicators Research, 115, 963–982. Scholar
  3. Arcidiacono, C. (2004). Sentiemento de comunidad y esperanza. In A. Sanchez Vidal, A. Palacìn, & L. M. C. Zambrano (Eds.), Psicologia Comunitaria Europea: Comunidad, Poder, Ètica Y Valores (pp. 218–228). Barcelona: UB.Google Scholar
  4. Arcidiacono, C., & Aber, M. (2017). Implicit knowledge, critical reflection, and social change. Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community., 45, 1–6. Scholar
  5. Arcidiacono, C., & Di Napoli, I. (2007). From sense of community to community orientation: community trust as a key issue. In A. Bokszczanin (Ed.), Social change in solidarity: Community psychology perspectives and approaches (pp. 45–56). Opole: University Press, Opole.Google Scholar
  6. Arcidiacono, C., & Di Napoli, I. (2008). Sense of community: Agency versus sense of belonging. In C. Rivera Figuro, M. Vázquez Rodríguez, W. Pacheco Bopu, & D. Pérez Jiménez (Eds.), Psicología Comunitaria Internacional: Agendas Compartidas En La Diversidad (pp. 259–284). Ed, UPR: Puerto Rico.Google Scholar
  7. Arcidiacono, C., Grimaldi, D., Di Martino, S., & Procentese, F. (2016). Participatory visual methods in the “Psychology Loves Porta Capuana” Project. Action Research, 14(4), 376–392. Scholar
  8. Arcidiacono, C., Natale, A., Carbone, A., & Procentese, F. (2017). Participatory action research from an intercultural and critical perspective. Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community, 45, 44–56. Scholar
  9. Arcidiacono, C., & Procentese, F. (2005). Distinctiveness and sense of community in the historical center of Naples: A piece of participatory action-research. Journal of Community Psychology, 33(5), 1–8. Scholar
  10. Arcidiacono, C., Procentese, F., & Di Napoli, I. (2008). Youth, community belonging, planning and power. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 17(4), 280–295. Scholar
  11. Arcidiacono, C., Procentese, F., & Di Napoli, I. (2009). Quantitative and qualitative research: an ecological approach. IJMRA, International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches, 3(2), 163–176. Scholar
  12. Bachmann, R. (2011). At the crossroads: Future directions in trust research. Journal of Trust Research, 1, 203–213. Scholar
  13. Banfield, E. (1958). The moral basis of a backward society. Glencoe: Free Press.Google Scholar
  14. Becker, J. M., Klein, K., & Wetzels, M. (2012). Hierarchical latent variable models in PLSSEM: guidelines for using reflective-formative type models. Long Range Planning, 45(5), 359–394. Scholar
  15. Brodsky, A. E. (2017). Bridging the dialectic: Diversity, psychological sense of community, and inclusion. American Journal of Community Psychology, 59(3–4), 269–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Brodsky, A., O’Campo, P., & Aronson, R. (1999). PSOC in community context: Multilevel correlates of a measure of psychological sense of community in low income, urban neighborhoods. Journal of Community Psychology, 27, 659–680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Bulloch, S. (2013). Seeking construct validity in interpersonal trust research: A proposal on linking theory and survey measures. Social Indicators Research, 113(3), 1289–1310. Scholar
  18. Campbell, C., Cornish, F., & Skovdal, M. (2012). Local pain, global prescriptions? Using scale to analyse the globalisation of the HIV/AIDS response. Health and Place, 18, 447–452. Scholar
  19. Campbell, C., & Jovchelovitch, S. (2000). Health, community and development: Towards a social psychology of participation. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 10, 255–270.<255::AID-CASP582>3.0.CO;2-M.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Capone, V., Donizzetti, A. R., & Petrillo, G. (2018). Classroom relationships, sense of community, perceptions of justice, and collective efficacy for students’ social well-being. Journal of Community Psychology, 46(3), 374–382. Scholar
  21. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (1997). Screening young children for lead poisoning: Guidance for state and local public health officials. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service.Google Scholar
  22. Chavis, D. M., & Wandersman, A. (1990). Sense of community in the urban environment: A catalyst for participation and community development. American Journal of Community Psychology, 18(1), 55–81. Scholar
  23. Checkoway, B., Allison, T., & Montoya, C. (2005). Youth participation in public policy at the municipal level. Children and Youth Services Review, 27(10), 1149–1162. Scholar
  24. Chin, W. W. (1998). The partial least squares approach for structural equation modeling. In G. A. Marcoulides (Ed.), Modern methods for business research (pp. 295–336). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  25. Chin, W. W. (2010). How to write up and report PLS analyses. In V. E. Vinzi, W. W. Chin, J. Henseler, & H. Wang (Eds.), Handbook of partial least squares (pp. 655–690). Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Churchill, S. A., & Mishra, V. (2016). Trust, social network and subjective wellbeing in China. Social Indicators Research, 132(1), 313–339. Scholar
  27. Coleman, J. S. (1990). Foundation of social theory. Cambridge MA: Belknap Press.Google Scholar
  28. Corbetta, P. (1992). Metodi di analisi multivariata per le scienze sociali. Bologna: Il Mulino.Google Scholar
  29. Cronbach, L. J. (1951). Coefficient alpha and the internal structure of tests. Psychometrika, 16, 297–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Das, T. K., & Teng, B. S. (2001). Trust, control and risk in strategic alliances: An integrated framework. Organisation Studies, 22(2), 251–283. Scholar
  31. Davidson, W. B., & Cotter, P. R. (1986). Sense of community and political participation. Journal of Community Psychology, 17, 119–125.<119::AID-JCOP2290170203>3.0.CO;2-C.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Davino, C., Dolce, P., Taralli, S., & Esposito Vinzi, V. (2018). A quantile composite-indicator approach for the measurement of equitable and sustainable well-being: A case study of the italian provinces. Social Indicators Research, 1(3), 999–1029. Scholar
  33. Di Martino, S., Di Napoli, I., Esposito, C., Prilleltensky, I., & Arcidiacono, C. (2018). Measuring subjective well-being from a multidimensional and temporal perspective: Italian adaptation of the I COPPE scale. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 16, 88. Scholar
  34. Di Napoli, I., & Arcidiacono, C. (2013). The use of self-anchoring scales in social research: The Cantril scale for the evaluation of community action orientation. In C. Davino & L. Fabbris (Eds.), Survey data collection and integration (pp. 73–86). Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Di Napoli, I., Palumbo, F., & Arcidiacono, C. (2016). Young people’s social agency and community action orientation: A partial least squares-path modeling approach using a self anchoring scale. Statistica Applicata—Italian Journal of Applied Statistics, 28(1), 73–94.Google Scholar
  36. Dolce, P., Esposito Vinzi, V. & Lauro, C. (2017). Predictive path modeling through PLS and other component-based approaches: Methodological issues and performance evaluation. In H. Latan & R. Noonan (Eds.), Partial least squares path modeling. Basic concepts, methodological issues and applications ( pp. 153–172). Cham: Springer.Google Scholar
  37. Dolce, P., & Lauro, N. (2015). Comparing maximum likelihood and PLS estimates for structural equation modeling with formative blocks. Quality & Quantity, 49, 891–902.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Edwards, J. R. (2001). Multidimensional constructs in organizational behavior research: An integrative analytical framework. Organizational Research Methods, 4(2), 144–192. Scholar
  39. Ekman, J., & Amnå, E. (2012). Political participation and civic engagement: Towards a new typology. Human Affairs, 22(3), 283–300. Scholar
  40. Esposito Vinzi, V., Chin, W., Henseler, J., & Wang, H. (2010). Handbook of partial least squares (PLS): Concepts, methods and applications. Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. EU–URBACT (2017). URBinclusion transnational meeting. copenhagen September 26–27. Scholar
  42. Florin, P. R., & Wandersman, A. (1984). Cognitive social learning and participation in community development. American Journal of Community Psychology, 12, 689–708. Scholar
  43. Foddy, M., & Dawes, R. M. (2008). Group-based trust in social dilemmas. In M. Gustaffson, A. Biel, D. Eek, & T. Gärling (Eds.), New issues and paradigms in research in social dilemma (pp. 57–71). New York, NY: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Gambetta, D. (1988). Can we trust trust? In D. Gambetta (Ed.), Trust: Making and breaking cooperative relations (pp. 213–237). Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  45. Gambetta, D. (1998). Trust: Making and Breaking Cooperative Relations. Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  46. Gambetta, D. (2000). Mafia: The Price of Distrust. In Diego Gambetta (Ed.), Trust: Making and breaking cooperative relations, electronic edition (pp. 158–175). Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  47. Gattino, S., Piccoli, N., Fassio, O., & Rollero, C. (2013). Quality of life and sense of community. Journal of Community Psychology, 41(7), 811–826. Scholar
  48. Guinot, C., Latreille, J., & Tenenhaus, M. (2001). PLS path modeling and multiple table analysis. Application to the cosmetic habits of women in Ile-de-France. Chemometrics and Intelligent Laboratory Systems, 58(2), 247–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Guiso, L., Sapienza, P., & Zingales, L. (2007) Social capital as good culture. EUI Working Paper ECO 2007/57.Google Scholar
  50. Hamamura, T., Li, L. M. W., & Chan, D. K. C. (2017). The association between generalized trust and physical and psychological health across societies. Social Indicator Research, 134(1), 277–286. Scholar
  51. Hetherington, M. J. (2005). Why trust matters: Declining political trust and the demise of American liberalism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Hughey, J., Speer, P. W., & Peterson, N. A. (1999). Sense of community in community organizations: Structure and evidence of validity. Journal of Community Psychology, 27(1), 97–113.<97::AID-JCOP7>3.0.CO;2-K.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. ISTAT. (2015). Rapporto Bes 2015: Il benessere equo e sostenibile in Italia. [Fair and sustainable well-being in Italy]. From Accessed 30 August.
  54. ISTAT. (2017). Rapporto Bes 2017: Il benessere equo e sostenibile in Italia [Fair and sustainable well-being in Italy]. From Accessed 30 August.  
  55. Jarvis, D., MacKenzie, S., & Podsakoff, P. (2003). A critical review of construct indicators and measurement model misspecification in marketing and consumer research. Journal of Consumer Research, 30(3), 199–218. Scholar
  56. Jöreskog, K. (1973). A general method for estimating a linear structural equation system. In A. Goldberger & O. Duncan (Eds.), Structural equation models in the social sciences (pp. 85–112). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  57. Joshanloo, M., Capone, V., Petrillo, G., & Caso, D. (2017). Discriminant validity of hedonic, social, and psychological well-being in two Italian samples. Personality and Individual Differences, 109, 23–27. Scholar
  58. Keyes, C. L. M. (1998). Social well-being. Social Psychology Quarterly, 61, 121–140. Scholar
  59. Kirkby-Geddes, E., King, N., & Bravington, A. (2013). Social capital and community group participation: Examining ‘bridging’and ‘bonding’in the context of a healthy living centre in the UK. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 23(4), 271–285. Scholar
  60. Kong, D. T. (2013). Intercultural experience as an impediment of trust: Examining the impact of intercultural experience and social trust culture on institutional trust in government. Social Indicators Research, 113(3), 847–858. Scholar
  61. Lasagni, A. (2008). Volontariato e criminalità in Italia: un’analisi sui dati provinciali.à+in+Italia%3A+un’analisi+sui+dati+provinciali.&btnG=. Accessed 30 Agust 2018.
  62. Latan, H., & Ramli, N. A. (2013) The results of partial least squares-structural equation modeling analyses (PLS-SEM). Available at SSRN,
  63. Latan, H., & Ghozali, I. (2015). Partial least squares: Concepts, techniques and application using program SmartPLS 3.0 (2nd ed.). Semarang: Diponegoro University Press.Google Scholar
  64. Li, B., & Mayraz, G. (2016). Infrastructure spending in China increases trust in local governments. Social Indicators Research, 132(1), 341–356. Scholar
  65. Lohmöller, J. B. (1989). Latent variable path modeling with partial least squares. Heildelberg: Physica-Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Luhmann, N. (1988). Familiarity, confidence, trust: Problems and Alternatives. In D. Gambetta (Ed.), Trust: Making and breaking cooperative relations (pp. 94–107). New York: Basil Black- Well.Google Scholar
  67. Malhotra, D., & Lumineau, F. (2011). Trust and collaboration in the aftermath of conflict: The effects of contract structure. Academy of Management Journal, 54, 981–998. Scholar
  68. Mannarini, T., Talò, C., Ntzani, E., Kritikou, M., Serra Majem, L., Salvatore, S., et al. (2017). Sense of community and the perception of the socio- physical environment: A comparison between urban centers of different sizes across Europe. Social Indicators Research. Scholar
  69. Mannarini, T., Tartaglia, S., Fedi, A., & Greganti, K. (2006). Image of neighborhood, self-image and sense of community. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 26, 202–214. Scholar
  70. McMillan, D., & Chavis, D. (1986). Sense of community: A definition and theory. Journal of Community Psychology, 14, 6–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Natale, A., Di Martino, S., Procentese, F., & Arcidiacono, C. (2016). De-growth and critical community psychology: Contributions towards individual and social well-being. Futures, 78–79, 47–56. Scholar
  72. Nowell, B., & Boyd, N. (2010). Viewing community as a responsibility as well as a resource: Deconstructing the theoretical roots of psychological sense of community. Journal of Community Psychology, 38(7), 828–841. Scholar
  73. ODPM. (2006). Table E: 2003 based: HOUSEHOLD ESTIMATES/PROJECTIONS. London: TSO. From Accessed 30 August.Google Scholar
  74. OECD. (2008). Handbook on constructing composite indicators: Methodology and user guide. Paris: OECD.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Patulny, R. (2011). Social trust, social partner time and television time. Social Indicators Research, 101, 289–293. Scholar
  76. Petrillo, G., Caso, D., & Capone, V. (2014). Un’applicazione del Mental Health Continuum di Keyes al contesto italiano: benessere e malessere in giovani e adulti. Psicologia della Salute, 2, 159–181. Scholar
  77. Pichler, F., & Wallace, C. (2007). Patterns of formal and informal social capital in Europe. European Sociological Review, 23(4), 423–435. Scholar
  78. Prezza, M., Amici, M., Roberti, T., & Tedeschi, G. (2001). Sense of community referred to the whole town: Its relations with neighboring, loneliness, life satisfaction, and area of residence. Journal of Community Psychology, 29(1), 29–52.<29::AID-JCOP3>3.0.CO;2-C.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Prezza, M., Costantini, S., Chiarolanza, V., & Di Marco, S. (1999). La Scala italiana del senso di comunità [The Italian Sense of Community Scale]. Psicologia della Salute, 3–4, 135–159.Google Scholar
  80. Prezza, M., & Pacilli, M. G. (2007). Current fear of crime, sense of community and loneliness in Italian adolescents: The role of autonomous mobility and play during childhood. Journal of Community Psychology, 35, 151–170. Scholar
  81. Procentese, F., & Gatti, F. (2019). Senso di Convivenza Responsabile: quale ruolo nella relazione tra Partecipazione e Benessere Sociale? Psicologia Sociale. forthcomingGoogle Scholar
  82. Putnam, R. (1993). Making a democracy work, civic tradition in modern Italy. Princenton NJ: Princenton University Press.Google Scholar
  83. Rigdon, E. E. (2016). Choosing PLS path modeling as analytical method in european management research: A realist perspective. European Management Journal, 34(6), 598–605. Scholar
  84. Salehi, A., Harris, N., Marzban, M., & Coyne, E. (2014). Confirmatory factor analysis of scales measuring trust, and control-self-efficacy of young iranian women. Social Indicators Research, 10, 15–20. Scholar
  85. Salvatore, S., Fini, V., Mannarini, T., Veltri, G. A., Avdi, E., Battaglia, F., et al. (2018). Symbolic universes between present and future of Europe. First results of the map of European societies’ cultural milieu. PLoS ONE, 13(1), e0189885. Scholar
  86. Sampson, R. J., Raudenbush, S. W., & Earls, F. (1997). Neighbourhoods and violent crime: A multilevel study of collective efficacy. Science, 277, 918–924. Scholar
  87. Sarstedt, M., Hair, J. F., Ringle, C., Thiele, K., & Gudergan, S. (2016). Estimation issues with PLS and CBSEM: Where the bias lies! Journal of Business Research, 69(10), 3998–4010. Scholar
  88. Schneider, I. (2017). Can we trust measures of political trust? Assessing measurement equivalence in diverse regime types. Social Indicators Research, 133(3), 963–984. Scholar
  89. Sherrod, L., Torney-Purta, J., & Flanagan, C. (Eds.). (2010). Handbook on civic engagement in youth. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  90. Smetana, J. G., Campione-Barr, N., & Metzger, A. (2006). Adolescent development in interpersonal contexts. Annual Review Psycholology, 57, 255–284. Scholar
  91. Talò, C., Mannarini, T., & Rochira, A. (2014). Sense of community and community participation: A meta-analytic review. Social Indicators Research, 117, 1–28. Scholar
  92. R Core Team (2018). R: A Language and environment for statistical computing, version 3.4.4. R foundation for statistical computing, Vienna, Austria. Available
  93. Tenenhaus, M., Esposito Vinzi, V., Chatelin, Y. M., & Lauro, C. (2005). PLS path modeling. Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, 48(1), 159–205. Scholar
  94. van Zomeren, M., Postmes, T., & Spears, R. (2008). Toward an integrative social identity model of collective action: A quantitative research synthesis of three socio- psychological perspectives. Psychological Bulletin, 134, 504–535. Scholar
  95. Wandersman, A., & Florin, P. (2000). Citizen participation and community organizations. In J. Rappaport & E. Seidman (Eds.), Handbook of community psychology (pp. 247–272). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Werts, C., Linn, R., & Jöreskog, K. (1974). Interclass reliability estimates: Testing structural assumptions. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 34, 25–33. Scholar
  97. Wetzels, M., Odekerken-Schröoder, G., & van Oppen, C. (2009). Using PLS path modeling for assessing hierarchical construct models: guidelines and empirical illustration. MIS Quarterly, 33(1), 177–195. Scholar
  98. Wold, H. (1982). Soft modeling: The basic design and some extensions. In K. Jöreskog & H. Wold (Eds.), Systems under indirect observation (Vol. 2, pp. 1–54). Amsterdam: North-Holland.Google Scholar
  99. Xu, Q., Perkins, D. D., & Chow, J. C. C. (2010). Sense of community, neighbouring, and social capital as predictors of local political participation in China. American Journal of Community Psychology, 45, 259–271. Scholar
  100. Yates, M., & Youniss, J. (1996). A developmental perspective on community service in adolescence. Social Development, 5, 85–111. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HumanitiesUniversity of Naples Federico IINaplesItaly
  2. 2.Department of Public HealthUniversity of Naples Federico IINaplesItaly

Personalised recommendations