Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



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.


The research was conducted at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics (USPP), a collaborative faculty–student research program in the psychology of politics at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict in Collegeville and St. Joseph, Minnesota, directed by Aubrey Immelman, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, who specializes in the psychological assessment of presidential candidates and world leaders.

This paper was presented at the 41st Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, San Antonio, TX, July 4-7, 2018.

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Trump Personality Profile (ISPP 2018) - Read only.pptx (2677 kB)
ISPP presentation, San Antonio, July 5, 2018

Trump poster (2016).jpg (612 kB)
Donald Trump Personality Profile (research poster)