Link Between Health and Trust

January 28, 2018

Is There a Link Between Health and Trust?

Yes, the link does exist and it has been proven.


link health trustThe critical link to a high-involvement, high-energy workplace begins with a common language.1 And this language is “TRUST.”  Do you trust your team? Do they trust you? Why?

Trust is a primary factor in how people work together, listen to one another, and build effective relationship.2 The cornerstone to a successful veterinary team is trust. 3  Are you aware of all the actions that influence trust? Probably not. Most people aren’t.

If you type “trust” in a google search, you’ll get a plethora of articles on team trust and how to build trust as a leader. Yet when you type this word into, the top articles that appear are all about the client (and one on vaccines), not team members.

Do we really “trust” our co-workers? And how does this trust, or lack thereof, affect our well-being?


There are studies conducted that have looked at and discovered evidence linking trust and subjective well-being.4 In simple terms, not trusting someone, or not being trusted, can make you not feel your best.

And it goes one step farther. Data shows that living in a high-trust environment makes people more resilient to adversity.5 Being subject to discrimination, ill-health or unemployment, although always damaging to subjective well-being, is much less damaging to those living in trustworthy environments.2

Obviously this study was looking at more than just the work environment. Yet you can apply this concept to your hospital. When there is a culture built around trust, people will be able to bounce back quicker when there is some type of hardship.


While there are many variations of trust, two that we will mention are interpersonal trust and institutional trust.

Interpersonal trust is defined as the perception you have that other people will not do anything that will harm your interest; the individual is giving the willingness to accept vulnerability or risk based on expectations regarding another person’s behavior.6

The definition of Institutional Trust is the security one feels about a situation because of guarantees, safety nets and other structures put into place that are normal and customary. 7


While it hasn’t been done a lot, trust can be measured.

One study examined the influence of interpersonal and institutional trust to subjective well-being (SWB) over and above socio-demographic variables.8  The results showed that interpersonal trust was a better predictor of SWB, more so than socio-demographic variables and even the level of trust in institutions.8

Survey results showed that economic development is poorly measured by income per capita alone, and should include measures of well-being.9  In other words, just because you have money, doesn’t make you healthy or happy. We’ve heard this before “money doesn’t buy happiness.”  The saying should be “trust buys happiness and well-being.”

Well-being depends more on the quality of social relationships instead of income, and quality social relationships depend highly on trust.

Tip of Iceberg

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many aspects of trust – after all, books have been written on this subject.

The take away message we hope you have heard, is that it’s critical to have the common language of trust for the team to be happy and healthy. This trust is a combination of the environment and, more importantly, each other.

Denise head shotYours in Trust and Well-Being

Denise Mikita, MS, CVT



  1. Building Trust White Paper – Research & Insights. The Ken Blanchard Companies.2017
  2. Building Trust – Perspectives. The Ken Blanchard Companies 2010
  3. Buck Naked Vulnerability – Veterinary team Trust Parts I and II – a CATALYST VetPC Blog.
  4. Trust and Well-Being. John F. Helliwell and Shun Wang. National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge MA. NBER Working Paper No. 15911. April 2010
  5. New Evidence on Trust and Well-Being. John F. Helliwell, Haifang Huang and Shun Wang. National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge MA. NBER Working Paper No. 22450. July 2016
  6. The Psychology of Interpersonal Trust – McKendree University
  7. What is Institutional Trust | IGI Global
  8. Trust and Subjective Well-Being: The Case of Serbia. Veljko Jovanović. Personality and Individual Differences. Volume 98, Pages 284-288. Elsevier Ltd. August 2016
  9. Trust, Growth, and Well Being: New Evidence and Policy Implications. Yann Algan and Pierre Cahuc.
    IZA, Germany Institute for the Study of Labor. Discussion Paper No. 7464. June 2013