Political Trust by Individuals of low Socioeconomic Status: The Key Role of Anomie

in Social Psychological Bulletin

The socioeconomic status (SES) of individuals is related to their political trust. The higher their status, the more they trust the political system. This well-known relation is generally explained in terms of socialisation. The higher the SES, the more people are exposed to democratic values or interact with trustworthy institutions. This increases political interest, which increases political trust. In this study, we propose a complementary explanation: lower SES enhances the perception that the social fabric is breaking down (anomie), and this reduces political trust. We test this hypothesis by using structural equation modeling (SEM) on a representative survey (n = 1203) conducted in the Wallonia region of Belgium. That region appeared suited to explore our hypothesis because of its long-term economic difficulties. The results reveal that those of low SES have less political trust because they perceive more anomie in society. These results are consistent even when the alternative explanation is taken into account (the socialisation hypothesis). Moreover, the results also showed that a higher level of anomie reduced interpersonal trust which reduced political trust (serial mediation). These results highlight the key role of anomie when considering the relation of SES with political trust.

Publication à lire ici : https://spb.psychopen.eu/index.php/spb/article/view/6897

Edition : Vol. 17 (2022) Langue : fr