Engage for Equity: The Role of Trust and Synergy in Community-Based Participatory Research

Julie E. Lucero, Blake Boursaw, Milton “Mickey” Eder, Ella Greene-Moton, Nina Wallerstein, John G. Oetzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Community-based participatory research (CBPR) partnerships exist as complex, dynamic relationships that incorporate shared decision that supports trust development between communities and academics. Within CBPR, the interest in understanding the concept of trust has grown with the realization that, without trust, CBPR relationships fracture. A barrier to monitoring the trust health of a partnership is the lack of a shared operationalization of the concept, its antecedents, and measurement tools. To address these barriers, a six-category trust typology was created as a developmental theory of trust progress. To advance the theory, this article reports on the quantitative structural elements of the trust typology, identifies variability in trust correlates, and creates an empirical foundation for the trust types. Using Engage for Equity data, trust covariates included measures of synergy, CBPR principles, participation, and influence. Structural equation models were used to assess associations between trust types and the latent constructs measured by the items in each measure. The findings demonstrate that the six trust types generally operate on a continuum. Specifically, it does appear that trust deficit, role-based trust, functional trust, proxy trust, and reflective trust are on a single continuum from low to high. Scale scores for reflective trust and proxy trust were consistently and statistically significantly higher than those for functional trust, role-based, neutral, and trust deficit. These results support the construct validity of the trust typology as representing “higher levels” of trust phases. Due to the dynamic nature of partnerships, regular monitoring of partnership trust types can serve as a proxy for partnership functioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-379
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Education and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • community-based participatory research
  • general terms
  • health equity
  • health promotion
  • measurement
  • social determinants of health

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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