Trust in the media has become an increasingly important issue in communication research. Traditional credibility research and modern media skepticism studies have bred a multiplicity of empirical findings illustrating the attitudes of the recipients toward the mass media, possible reasons for trust or skepticism, and possible consequences of media trust for the individual and society. However, the psychological causes of trust in the media have not attracted much attention in communication research. This is especially true for personality traits such as individual level of interpersonal trust, which, as a global attitude, might be considered as one possible reason for the development of further trust relationships. In this paper it is assumed that the individual level of generalized social trust is one possible reason for the development of trust in the media. It is assumed that people tending to generally trust their fellow humans also express high levels of trust in the media and in other institutions. Based on a representative telephonic survey of the German population, it was found that there are positive correlations between interpersonal trust, trust in the media, and trust in other institutions.
©2012 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston