Concepts of Trust among Residency Students and How It Relates to Reciprocity and the Public Goods Dilemma

Student Author(s)

Christopher Krieg
Kelsey Lewis

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Aaron B. Franzen, Sociology

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Reciprocity and trust are necessary within any group. The benefit of this reciprocity and trust, however, is felt more by the group than the individual who trusts or reciprocates. This public goods dilemma can be problematic for residency programs because these programs need high levels of both trust and reciprocity to function smoothly. I use James S. Coleman’s ideas on trust and free-riders to explain how reciprocity in a residency program depends on how connected residents are to one another and how this impacts their perceptions of trust in one another. Using longitudinal data from a pediatric residency program, I look at how residents could have differing levels of trust based on connections with others in the residency program. Students who socialize with other residents generate more social capital, leading to higher levels of trust and reciprocity. On the other hand, socializing with non-residents fosters lower levels of social capital, hindering reciprocity and trust.

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