Trust: Constructs

The Three Constructs of Trust - Definition

According to Dr. Duane C. Tway, Jr. in his 1993 dissertation, A Construct of Trust: Tway defines trust as, "the state of readiness for unguarded interaction with someone or something"; He developed a model of trust that includes three components. He calls trust a construct because it is constructed of these three components:

"the capacity for trusting, the perception of competence, and the perception of intentions."

Thinking about trust as made up of the interaction and existence of these three components makes trust easier to understand.

1. The capacity for trusting means that your total life experiences have developed your current capacity and willingness to risk trusting others.

2. The perception of competence is made up of your perception of your ability and the ability of others with whom you work to perform competently at whatever is needed in your current situation.

3. The perception of intentions, as defined by Tway, is your perception that the actions, words, direction, mission, or decisions are motivated by mutually-serving rather than self-serving motives.


One of the most valuable things I teach my patients is the issue of trust. I teach them how to trust, who to trust, when to trust, how much to trust, how to keep on trusting, as well as being a trustworthy person.

We all know how it feels when trust is broken, and/ or if we have broken another’s trust, so more than anything I want to my patients to have the opportunity once again to be a trusting person as well as to trust others once more. 

Yet, what happens when we don’t trust, when we won’t take the risk and trust God or another person?

Without trust one cannot truly receive/feel love or authentically give love. Why? Because we'll withhold, second guess, be paranoid, suspicious all as a way to protect oneself, not realizing this only sabotages the effects of healthy trust. When one is not able to healthfully trust, they cannot truly feel hopeful, or confident. They will constantly second guess, and doubt. It will inhibit relationships, a sense of belonging, resulting in the feeling that one is “not truly wanted” or liked. They will struggle with fulfillment, connectedness, and feeling content. When one struggles with trust, life becomes more nondimensional. Therefore, the person lives to avoid pain, always feeling as if they are surviving, resulting in pleasure seeking behavior. This is surviving not thriving.

Hear more on our show this Sunday airing at 12pm MST on FaithTalk 1360 KPXQ in Metro Phoenix or online.