This study examines the impact of media exposure and reasons for media engagement from a media-user perspective on the level of trust in the government, the economy and the future in Kuwait during the 2008 international financial crisis. The study revealed that respondents used media for reasons of future prediction, general knowledge, solution seeking, advice seeking and crisis impact. Hierarchal regression analyses indicate that trust in the media positively predicted all criterion variables. The use of media to estimate the Crisis Impact predicts trust in the economy. Newspaper use predicts faith in the economy and the future and surfing the internet only predicts trust in the economy. General exposure to the media negatively predicts trust in the economy and the future. The study discusses the power of the communicator-centred and audience-centred approaches in predicting attitudes and beliefs during times of crises.
Keywords: uses and gratifications, Kuwait, 2008 financial crisis, media impact, trust, time spent on the media