American Politics | Leadership Studies | Other Psychology | Personality and Social Contexts
This paper presents the results of an indirect assessment of the personality of Donald J. Trump, Republican nominee in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, conducted 2015–2016 from the conceptual perspective of personologist Theodore Millon.
Psychodiagnostically relevant data about Trump were collected from biographical sources and media reports and synthesized into a personality profile using the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria (MIDC), which yields 34 normal and maladaptive personality classifications congruent with DSM-III-R, DSM-IV, and DSM-5.
The personality profile yielded by the MIDC was analyzed in accordance with interpretive guidelines provided in the MIDC and Millon Index of Personality Styles manuals. Trump’s primary personality patterns were found to be Ambitious/exploitative (a measure of narcissism) and Outgoing/impulsive, infused with secondary features of the Dominant/controlling pattern and supplemented by a Dauntless/adventurous tendency.
In summary, Trump’s personality composite can be labeled amorous narcissism (Millon) or impulsive narcissism (Immelman) or, in political terms, as the profile of a high-dominance charismatic — charismatic by virtue of the highly elevated primary Ambitious–Outgoing amalgam.
Ambitious individuals are bold, competitive, and self-assured; they easily assume leadership roles, expect others to recognize their special qualities, and often act as though entitled. Outgoing individuals are dramatic attention‑getters who thrive on being the center of social events, go out of their way to be popular with others, have confidence in their social abilities, tend to be impulsive and undisciplined, and become easily bored — especially when faced with repetitive or mundane tasks. Dominant individuals enjoy the power to direct others and to evoke obedience and respect; they are tough and unsentimental and often make effective leaders. Dauntless individuals tend to flout tradition, dislike following routine, sometimes act impulsively and irresponsibly, and are inclined to elaborate on or shade the truth and skirt the law.
Trump’s major personality strengths in a political role are his confident assertiveness and personal charisma. His major personality-based shortcomings are of a temperamental nature — impulsiveness and a lack of emotional restraint and self-discipline, along with the propensity for a superficial grasp of complex issues and a predisposition to be easily bored by routine.
Copyright © 2016 by Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics / Aubrey Immelman
Immelman, A. (2016, October). The political personality of 2016 Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump (Working Paper No. 2.0). Collegeville and St. Joseph, MN: St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict, Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics. (Paper presented at the 41st Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, San Antonio, TX, July 4-7, 2018.) Retrieved from Digital Commons website: http://digitalcommons.csbsju.edu/psychology_pubs/103/