Adolescent trust and trustworthiness: Role of gender and social value orientation

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Trusting others is an essential feature of adolescent development. The aim of this study was to investigate gender differences in trusting behavior using an experimental game and relate these to the underlying social preferences. 206 adolescents (Mage=15.1 years, 51% girls) performed a series of one-shot Trust Games to measure their levels of trust and trustworthiness. Social value orientation, or the preference to maximize one's own outcomes (proself) or both the outcomes of self and other (prosocial) was assessed using the Triple Dominance Measure. Boys were more trusting than girls, but no gender differences on trustworthiness were found. Prosocials were more trusting and trustworthy than proselfs. In addition, gender and social value orientation were independent predictors of trust (but not trustworthiness). These findings show that the higher levels of trust in boys are not the result of a gender difference in prosocial orientation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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