Scholarship of trust in institutions has tended to see trust and distrust as opposites on one continuum. Theoretical advances have challenged this view and now consider trust and distrust as different constructs, and thus as constructs with different characteristics and partly different determinants. Current empirical research on trust in government has so far done little to incorporate these findings, and has largely continued to rely on traditional survey items assuming a trust-distrust continuum. We rely on the literature in organization studies and political science to argue in favour of measuring citizen trust and distrust as distinct concepts and discuss future research challenges. © 2014 © 2013 The Editor, Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice.