The dynamics of trust before, during, and after the COVID‑19 outbreak

Wu, Cary | $176,256

Ontario York University 2020 CIHR Operating Grant

The proposed research aims to study the COVID‑19 outbreak and its relationship with four different kinds of trust, namely- trust in government, trust in health agencies, social trust in general others, and outgroup trust (e.g. Chinese and non-Chinese). We will undertake this research with a view to meeting two objectives. First, we seek to investigate how the pre and in-crisis trust context has shaped the response to COVID‑19 in China and Canada (Objective 1). Second, we seek to understand how the COVID‑19 outbreak response and experience then shaped the post-crisis context of trust in in China and Canada (Objective 2). The inclusion of both countries is vital not only for the possible control that Canada provides to the Chinese case, but also because it will allow for a more global picture of the impacts that the crisis had on individuals who are ethnically Chinese living outside of China. We will make these contributions by analyzing existing trust data collected prior to the outbreak (pre-crisis); by adding questions about the outbreak to current surveys being conducted on trust in China by team members (in-crisis rapid response conducted immediately); by conducting a new rapidly developed online survey to be administered in China and Canada (in-crisis rapid response conducted immediately; repeated post crisis), and by conducting focus groups with citizens in Chinese and Canadian cities (in crisis Canada only rapid response; repeated post crisis both countries). We anticipate that our team, which brings together experts in trust and health from the center of the outbreak in China, including in Wuhan city, as well as leading scholars on trust and public health in Canada and Sweden, is ideally positioned to conduct this research. As a result of team members’ ongoing and previous collaborations we are well-poised for the rapid engagement that is urgently needed in order to meet the global challenge posed by the COVID‑19 outbreak.

Avec un financement du Gouvernement du Canada

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