Diversity, trust and social capital: Examining community level relationships

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Hakim, Sharon M.
Meissen, Gregory J.

Hakim, Sharon M. (2011). Diversity, Trust and Social Capital: Examining Community level Relationships. -- In Proceedings: 7th Annual Symposium: Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects. Wichita, KS: Wichita State University, p. 26-27


The United States is experiencing increasing levels of ethnic diversity both in our country as a whole and within our communities. At the same time, levels of social capital, sense of community, and civic participation are declining. In 2007, Robert Putnam, a prominent social capital theorist, proposed the "Constrict Theory of Ethnic Diversity" to explain this relationship. Constrict Theory states that increased ethnic diversity leads to lower levels of trust - both in one's own ethnic group and in other ethnic groups. Trust is one of the major components of social capital, and it is through its relationship with trust that ethnic diversity can negatively affect social capital. This current study tested the Constrict Theory using community level variables. Findings support Putnam's previous findings, while raising questions about the measurements available to quantify ethnic diversity.

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First Place winner of oral presentations at the 7th Annual Symposium on Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects (GRASP) held at the Marcus Welcome Center, Wichita State University, May 4, 2011.
Research completed at the Department of Psychology