Trust Takes Two...

Lillie D. Williamson, Kim M. Thompson, Christy J.W. Ledford

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Research throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including investigations of resulting pandemic response strategies, evolving public health recommendations, and vaccine development, has highlighted the role of trust between physicians and patients. The focus, however, has largely been on patient trust in physicians. Although the importance of patient trust in physicians has long been recognized, physician trust in patients remains underappreciated. Physician trust in patients is an important factor in the physician-patient relationship. When physicians trust patients, patients can communicate freely, their experiences are validated, and trust may be engendered through reciprocal trust. Thus, a bidirectional approach to trust is necessary that acknowledges the role of physician trust in patients. We posit that shared trust is the dyadic factor that influences positive patient outcomes and is the foundation of shared decision making. Recognizing shared trust as an important outcome of the physician-patient relationship is a necessary step in evaluating how our practice, research, and education can influence or sow distrust of patients. In this commentary, we discuss the importance of attending to shared trust and physician trust in patients, particularly in family medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1179-1182
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Continuity of Patient Care
  • Family Practice
  • Health Communication
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Physicians
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Family Practice


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