Understanding dimensions of trust between older adults and human or robot care providers

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Stuck, Rachel Elizabeth
Rogers, Wendy A.
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As the number of older adults in the US increases, the need for care providers, both personal care attendants and robots, for older adults will also increase. Understanding how to develop trust in the relationship between older adults and care providers is important for maintaining a dyad that works effectively. Trust has been studied in several contexts, but not specifically with older adults and care providers in personal care tasks. To gain knowledge of how dimensions of trust in human-human and human-robot dyads interrelate we conducted semi-structured interviews and administered questionnaires to: (1) gain insight into the factors that influence older adults' trust in human and robotic care providers and (2) clarify how the factors that influence trust differentiate for human-human versus human-robot relationships in the context of older adult and care providers. The older adults interviewed in this study discussed three main categories of factors that they perceived as supporting trust in human and robot care providers: professional skills, personal traits, and communication. For both the human and robot care provider, older adults discussed previously identified factors as well as emergent themes from this context. For the human care provider, previously identified themes such as general capability, reliability, benevolence, and values were discussed frequently. However, new themes such as the human care providers attitude towards the task and manner of dress that emerged as important to the older adult. For the robot care provider, older adults discussed previously identified aspects such as general capability, predictability, and reliability, as well as new themes within human-robot trust such as benevolence of the robot, the material or texture of the robot, and whether or not the robot had similar values. In addition, this study found that personal traits were mentioned more frequently for the human than for the robot. While previous models of trust encompass many of the factors that support trust within this context, they are not sufficient. Within these personal care tasks, older adults emphasized not only the importance of the task being performed properly, but also emphasized personal traits and characteristics influencing trust albeit less for the robot than human. Participants also frequently discussed communication and how the care providers could use communication to support trust. These findings expand what we know about trust within the older adult-care provider context and can be used to advance the training of human care providers and the design of home robots to help improve the lives of older adults.
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