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American Politics | Leadership Studies | Other Political Science | Other Psychology | Personality and Social Contexts


This is a report of the results of an indirect assessment, in 2015, of the personality of former New Jersey governor (2010–2018) Chris Christie, from the conceptual perspective of personologist Theodore Millon. Christie ran unsuccessfully for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination and in June 2023 declared his candidacy in the 2024 U.S. presidential election.

Psychodiagnostically relevant data pertaining to Christie 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 on the basis of interpretive guidelines provided in the MIDC and Millon Index of Personality Styles manuals. Christie’s primary personality patterns were found to be Dominant/controlling, supplemented by secondary Ambitious/confident and Dauntless/adventurous patterns and subsidiary Outgoing/congenial and Contentious/resolute features.

Dominant leaders enjoy the power to direct others and to evoke obedience and respect; they are tough and unsentimental and often make effective leaders.

Ambitious leaders are characteristically self-confident, competitive, daring, bold, charming, and skilled at winning others over to their causes and purposes; they easily assume leadership roles, expect others to recognize their special qualities, and may act as though entitled.

Dauntless leaders are adventurous, individualistic, daring personalities resistant to deterrence and inclined to take calculated risks; they may be inclined to shade the truth or skirt the law.

Outgoing leaders are dramatic attention-getters who thrive on being the center of social events and are confident in their social skills and ability to charm and influence others.

Contentious leaders are individualistic and independent, tend to be outspoken or unconventional, and are frequently unhappy with the status quo.

The blend of personality patterns in Christie’s profile constitutes a composite personality type that may be described as that of a high-dominance, self-confident, risk-taking extravert.

Of particular note, the amalgam of Dominant (aggressive) and Contentious (negativistic) patterns in Christie’s profile suggests benign elements of Millon’s abrasive negativist syndrome. For these personalities, minor frictions easily escalate into personal confrontations and power struggles. They are quick to spot inconsistencies in others’ actions or ethical standards and adept at constructing arguments that amplify those contradictions. They characteristically take the moral high ground, dogmatically and contemptuously expose their antagonists’ perceived hypocrisy, and scornfully turn on those who cross their path.


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.

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Chris Christie poster (2023).jpg (1389 kB)
Poster: “The Personality Profile of Republican Presidential Contender Chris Christie”