Mesch, Gustavo S. (online). Is online trust and trust in social institutions associated with online disclosure of personal information online.
his study investigated the association between trust in individuals, social institutions and online trust on the disclosure of personal identifiable information online. Using the Internet attributes approach that argues that some structural characteristics of the Internet such as lack of social cues and controllability are conducive to a disinhibitive behavior it was expected that face to face trust and online trust will not be associated. In addition, it was expected that from the three components of trust, online trust only will be associated with the disclosure of identifiable personal information online. A secondary analysis of the 2009 Pew and American Life of Internet users (n = 1698) survey was conducted. In contrast with the Internet attribute approach the effect of trust in individuals and institutions was indirectly associated with the disclosure of identifiable information online. Trust in individuals and institutions were found to be associated with online trust. However, online trust only, was found to be associated with the disclosure of personal identifiable information. While trust online encourages the disclosure of identifiable information, perception of privacy risks predicted refraining from posting identifiable information online. The results show a complex picture of the association of offline and online characteristics on online behavior.