Department of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218.
The Role of Trust in Low-Income Mothers' Intimate Unions
Article first published online: 1 DEC 2009
Copyright © National Council on Family Relations, 2009
Journal of Marriage and Family
Volume 71, Issue 5, pages 1107–1124, December 2009
How to Cite
Burton, L. M., Cherlin, A., Winn, D.-M., Estacion, A. and Holder-Taylor, C. (2009), The Role of Trust in Low-Income Mothers' Intimate Unions. Journal of Marriage and Family, 71: 1107–1124. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2009.00658.x
- Issue published online: 1 DEC 2009
- Article first published online: 1 DEC 2009
- generalized gender distrust;
- interpersonal trust;
- low-income mothers;
Recent scholarship concerning low rates of marriage among low-income mothers emphasizes generalized gender distrust as a major impediment in forming sustainable intimate unions. Guided by symbolic interaction theory and longitudinal ethnographic data on 256 low-income mothers from the Three-City Study, we argue that generalized gender distrust may not be as influential in shaping mothers' unions as some researchers suggest. Grounded theory analysis revealed that 96% of the mothers voiced a general distrust of men, yet that distrust did not deter them from involvement in intimate unions. Rather, the pivotal ways mothers enacted trust in their partners were demonstrated by 4 emergent forms of interpersonal trust that we labeled as suspended, compartmentalized, misplaced, and integrated. Implications for future research are discussed.