Journal of Social and Political Psychology


On the Association of Interpersonal Trust with Right-Wing Extremist and Authoritarian Attitudes


Right-wing extremism and authoritarianism have been identified as major, if not the major threats to democracy in recent years. The rise of right-wing extremist and populist parties in many democratic countries throughout the world has renewed the interest in identifying the roots and determinants of these anti-democratic attitudes. Even though factors on many levels of analysis (macro-, meso- and micro-level) have been taken into consideration as possible sources of the development of these kinds of positions, the relationship of interpersonal trust with both right-wing extremism and authoritarianism has yet to be systematically examined. The aim of the current study was to shed light on the connection between these constructs by analyzing data from a German representative study conducted in 2018 (N = 2,416). Multiple linear regression found interpersonal trust to reliably predict all facets of right-wing extremism and authoritarianism included in the study, even when controlling for standard socioeconomic factors (e.g. age, gender, education, income). The lack of interpersonal trust may thus be seen as a major contributing factor to right-wing extremist and authoritarian attitudes. As such, it should be included in future studies about this topic and the nature of the revealed connection should be further examined.

Alle Publizierende

Heller, A., Wicke, F., Kasinger, C., Beutel, M.E., Decker, O., Schuler, J. & Brähler, E.