School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy


Lisa Sosin


Trust, Trusty (or Trustee), Trustor, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Heuristic




Student degree: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Professional Counseling


Trust is widely understood to be a critical component of interpersonal relationships. In an effort to understand this complex construct, the majority of research on dyadic trust has focused on the decision to trust and the interactions between a trustor and trusty, with a strong bent toward understanding the trustor’s experience. Surprisingly little is known about the experience of the trusty, or the recipient of trust, which if not remedied may result in erroneous assumptions about the experience of the trusty or an obscuration of the relational dynamics surrounding trust as a whole. Using qualitative, heuristic methodology, the author sought to understand husbands’ intrapersonal and interpersonal experiences of being trusted by their wives by allowing them opportunity to articulate or represent the depth of such experience, including in-depth, semistructured interviews. Immersion in the data provided by the co-researchers revealed eight primary themes with associated subthemes. The primary themes that emerged were: deep satisfaction; an understanding that his wife’s trust is a privilege not to be taken for granted; validation through positive regard; affirmation of doing what is right; peace and security; intimacy; experience of grace; and freedom. These findings begin to fill a void in the literature, illuminating the experience of trusties for the benefit of not only those in relationships but those tasked with supporting relationships as well. Embedded within existing theoretical frameworks, the results of this study provide both a deeper understanding of the trusty experience as well as a springboard for further related research.

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Counseling Commons