Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

Physician trust in the patient: development and validation of a new measure.

Published Web Location
No data is associated with this publication.


Mutual trust is an important aspect of the patient-physician relationship with positive consequences for both parties. Previous measures have been limited to patient trust in the physician. We set out to develop and validate a measure of physician trust in the patient.


We identified candidate items for the scale by content analysis of a previous qualitative study of patient-physician trust and developed and validated a scale among 61 primary care clinicians (50 physicians and 11 nonphysicians) with respect to 168 patients as part of a community-based study of prescription opioid use for chronic, nonmalignant pain in HIV-positive adults. Polychoric factor structure analysis using the Pratt D matrix was used to reduce the number of items and describe the factor structure. Construct validity was tested by comparing mean clinician trust scores for patients by clinician and patient behaviors expected to be associated with clinician trust using a generalized linear mixed model.


The final 12-item scale had high internal reliability (Cronbach α =.93) and a distinct 2-factor pattern with the Pratt matrix D. Construct validity was demonstrated with respect to clinician-reported self-behaviors including toxicology screening (P <.001), and refusal to prescribe opioids (P <.001) and with patient behaviors including reporting opioids lost or stolen (P=.008), taking opioids to get high (P <.001), and selling opioids (P<.001).


If validated in other populations, this measure of physician trust in the patient will be useful in investigating the antecedents and consequences of mutual trust, and the relationship between mutual trust and processes of care, which can help improve the delivery of clinical care.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Item not freely available? Link broken?
Report a problem accessing this item