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The Importance of Trust: What Role Do Low Trust in Government and Health Experts and Agencies Play in the Mitigation of a Global Health Crisis or Pandemic?

Nkansah, Anthony (2020) The Importance of Trust: What Role Do Low Trust in Government and Health Experts and Agencies Play in the Mitigation of a Global Health Crisis or Pandemic? Undergraduate thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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Abstract

Background: The idea to write a dissertation based on trust was provoked by the continuing downward trend of trust in government amid a global health crisis (Gallup Inc, 2019; Pew Research, 2014). This is especially true when one considers how pervasive the distrust of government has become (May and Bast,2012), notably at a time when a well-functioning government is greatly needed. This distrust in government could potentially be a hinderance on how the public cooperate with public health advice and mandates given by the government and health experts at the time of a global health crisis or pandemic (Freimuth et al., 2013).
Objective: Having in mind how important and ubiquitous trust is in all levels of human relationships (Raymond, 1988), an examination needed to be done regarding the role that low trust in government plays in the erosion of public support for government initiatives to combat and mitigate any crisis especially the effect of a very dangerous and infectious virus. The hypothesis being forwarded here by this dissertation is that, not only will low trust in government lead to lack of cooperation with government initiatives and programs enacted to slow down the scourge of a virus during a global health crisis but it could also potentially snowball into distrust of institutions and agencies that are connected to government. The above hypothesis therefore helped to frame the research question upon which this paper stands: The Importance of Trust: What Role Do Low Trust in Government and Health Experts and Agencies Play in the Mitigation of a Global Health Crisis or Pandemic? The objective of this dissertation is to answer that question by painting a portrait of the nature trust, its evolution over the years and how its rebuilding could help modern society. This is achieved in this dissertation by the review of past and current trust literature, news reports, videos, interviews and results of surveys from trusted pollsters and polling agencies as well as conducting primary survey in the county that I (writer) live.
Research Design and Results: Using a systematic review of trust literature, majority of it based on the medical profession and environment and also results from surveys mostly conducted in Europe, there was a revelation of broad support and acceptance for the hypothesis put forward by this paper. Empirical evidence indicate the power dynamics that is involved in the giving and receiving of trust and also the negative correlation that exist between low trust in government and the resistance to government mandated initiatives to mitigate the effect of any crisis including a pandemic. One comforting revelation that came out of the surveys results of the major survey agencies and also from the primary research conducted by this writer was that trust in doctors, nurses and scientist remains high amongst the general populace and therefore the credibility of these professionals can be leverage to successfully implement programs initiated by a low trust government.
Discussion and Conclusion: It is the desire of the writer of this dissertation that the question posed, the analysis, and conclusions drawn in this paper will move the ball forward in our understanding of the impact the continued decline of public trust in our governments and institutions is having on society as a whole especially in a global health crisis and to add to the urgency of the need to build back trust in government and government institutions before the next pandemic which is inevitable hits us.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Subjects: J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > Public Health System
Divisions: School of Business > BA (Honours) in Business Studies
Depositing User: Mr Kevin Loughran
Date Deposited: 28 May 2021 11:30
Last Modified: 28 May 2021 11:30
URI: http://norma.ncirl.ie/id/eprint/4884

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