Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

April 2005


Published in British Journal of Developmental Psychology 23 (2005), pp. 271–292. © 2005 The British Psychological Society. Used by permission. DOI:10.1348/026151005X26192


A scale was constructed to assess children’s generalized trust beliefs (CGTB) in four target groups (mother, father, teacher and peer) with respect to three bases of trust: reliability, emotionality, and honesty. The CGTB Scale was administered to 145 Year 5 and 156 Year 6 children (mean age = 10 years, 1 month) residing in the English Midlands, United Kingdom. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses yielded evidence for the expected factor structure of the CGTB Scale. The total CGTB Scale and subscales demonstrated acceptable internal consistency and expected levels of stability across time. As support for validity, Year 6 participants’ scores on the CGTB peer subscale were correlated with their trust beliefs in classmates, assessed a year earlier. As hypothesized, children’s helpfulness to their classmates was correlated with the CGTB Scale and subscales. Girls displayed greater trust beliefs and helpfulness to classmates than did boys.