Definition, Measurement, Precursors, and Outcomes of Trust Within Health Care Teams: A Scoping Review

Ailsa Lauren Hamilton, Elizabeth A Layden, Neill Storrar, Janet Skinner, Jeni Harden, Morwenna Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

PURPOSE: This scoping review aims to map the breadth of the literature examining how trust is defined in health care teams, describe what measurements of trust are used, and investigate the precursors and outcomes of trust.

METHOD: Five electronic databases (Ovid MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycInfo, Embase, and ASSIA [Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts]) were searched alongside sources of grey literature in February 2021. To be included studies needed to discuss a health care team directly involved in managing patient care and one aspect of trust as a relational concept. A content count of the definitions of trust and tools used to measure trust and a deductive thematic analysis of the precursors and outcomes of trust in health care teams were conducted.

RESULTS: Ultimately, 157 studies were included after full-text review. Trust was the main focus of 18 (11%) studies and was not routinely defined (38, 24%). Ability appeared to be key to the definition. Trust was measured in 34 (22%) studies, often using a bespoke measure (8/34, 24%). The precursors of trust within health care teams occur at the individual, team, and organizational levels. The outcomes of trust occur at the individual, team, and patient levels. Communication was a broad overarching theme that was present at all levels, both as a precursor and outcome of trust. Respect, as a precursor, influenced trust at the individual, team, and organizational levels, while trust influenced learning, an outcome, across the patient, individual, and team levels.

CONCLUSIONS: Trust is a complex, multilevel construct. This scoping review has highlighted gaps in the literature, including exploration of the swift trust model, which may be applicable to health care teams. Furthermore, knowledge from this review may be integrated into future training and health care practices to optimize team processes and teamworking.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAcademic Medicine
Early online date11 Jul 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jul 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Definition, Measurement, Precursors, and Outcomes of Trust Within Health Care Teams: A Scoping Review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this