Radius of trust: Social capital in relation to familism and institutional collectivism

Anu Realo, Jüri Allik, Brenna Greenfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Countries in which people believe that "most people can be trusted" and where citizens belong to a larger number of different voluntary associations are more individualistic, emphasizing the importance of independence and freedom to choose one's own goals. The present study examines the relationship between social capital and individualism/collectivism using a measure that distinguishes between familism and institutional collectivism. Familism correlated negatively with social capital, whereas institutional collectivism practices exhibited positive associations with social capital, especially with trust and participation in voluntary organizations such as church or religious organizations and labor unions. It is concluded that in societies where trust is limited to the nuclear family or kinship alone, people have lower levels of social capital. Social capital increases as the radius of trust widens to encompass a larger number of people and social networks among whom norms of generalized reciprocity are operative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-462
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008


  • Collectivism
  • Individualism
  • Radius of trust
  • Social capital

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