How to Measure Trust in Physicians?

Part of the SpringerBriefs in Ethics book series (BRIEFSETHIC)


In this chapter, the process of development and validation of a scale to quantify trust in physicians in the local healthcare setting is described. The scale development process has been informed by both the classical test and item response approaches. At the end of the process of scale development and validation, we identified a 12-item trust in physician scale. The chapter also presents evidence of further validation of the scale in which its ability to discriminate between those who trust and those who do not was clearly brought out. There is a need to use this scale more extensively and test its performance across different population groups.


Trust in physicians Scale Psychometrics Classical test theory Item response theory 


  1. Anderson, L. A., & Dedrick, R. F. (1990). Development of the Trust in Physician scale: A measure to assess interpersonal trust in patient-physician relationships. Psychological reports, 67(3_suppl), 1091–1100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Drasgow, F., & Parsons, C. K. (1983). Application of unidimensional item response theory models to multidimensional data. Applied Psychological Measurement, 7(2), 189–199. Scholar
  3. Dugan, E., Trachtenberg, F., & Hall, M. A. (2005). Development of abbreviated measures to assess patient trust in a physician, a health insurer, and the medical profession. BMC Health Services Research, 7, 1–7.
  4. Egede, L. E., & Ellis, C. (2008). Development and testing of the multidimensional trust in health care systems scale. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 23, 808–815. Scholar
  5. Goold, S. D., Fessler, D., & Moyer, C. A. (2005). A measure of trust in insurers. Health Services Research, 41, 58–78. Scholar
  6. Gopichandran, V., Wouters, E., & Chetlapalli, S. K. (2015). Development and validation of a socioculturally competent trust in physician scale for a developing country setting. BMJ Open, 1–13. Scholar
  7. Goudge, J., & Gilson, L. (2005). How can trust be investigated? Drawing lessons from past experience. Social Science & Medicine, 61, 1439–1451. Scholar
  8. Hall, M. A., Camacho, F., & Dugan, E. (2002). Trust in the medical profession: Conceptual and measurement issues. Health Services Research, 37, 1419–1439.Google Scholar
  9. Kalsingh, M. J., Veliah, G., & Gopichandran, V. (2017). Psychometric properties of the trust in physician scale in Tamil Nadu, India. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 6(1), 34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kao, A. C., et al. (1998). Patients’ trust in their physicians effects of choice, continuity, and payment method. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 13(10), 681–686.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lin, C., Lin, C., & Russell, E. M. (2008). Comparisons between classical test theory and item response theory in automated assembly of parallel test forms. The Journal of Technology, Learning and Assessment, 6(8).Google Scholar
  12. Piette, J. D., Schillinger, D., Potter, M. B., & Heisler, M. (n.d.). Dimensions of patient-provider communication and diabetes self-care in an ethnically diverse population. Journal of General Internal Medicine.Google Scholar
  13. Rose, A., Peters, N., Shea, J. A., & Armstrong, K. (2004.). Development and testing of the health care system. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 19(1), 57–63.Google Scholar
  14. Safran, D. G., Taira, D. A., Rogers, W. H., Kosinski, M., Ware, J. E., & Tarlov, A. R. (1998). Linking primary care performance to outcomes of care. Journal of Family Practice, 47, 213–220.Google Scholar
  15. Straten, G. F. M., Friele, R. D., & Groenewegen, P. P. (2002). Public trust in Dutch health care. Social Science and Medicine, 55(2), 227–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Thompson, H. S., Valdimarsdottir, H. B., Winkel, G., et al. (2004). The group-based medical mistrust scale: Psychometric properties and association with breast cancer screening. Preventive Medicine, 38, 209–218. Scholar
  17. Zheng, B., et al. (2002). Development of a scale to measure patients’ trust in health insurers’. Health Services Research, 37(1), 185–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Community MedicineESIC Medical College and Postgraduate Institute of Medical Science and ResearchChennaiIndia

Personalised recommendations