Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Asian Studies | Defense and Security Studies | International Relations | Leadership Studies | Other Political Science | Other Psychology | Personality and Social Contexts


This paper presents the results of an indirect assessment of the personality and leadership style of China’s president, Xi Jinping, from the conceptual perspective of personologist Theodore Millon.

Psychodiagnostically relevant data about Xi 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. Xi’s primary personality pattern was found to be Dominant (in the controlling range of scale elevation), complemented by secondary Conscientious (respectful–dutiful range) and Ambitious (confident–self-serving range) patterns and subsidiary Accommodating/cooperative (conciliatory) and Dauntless/adventurous (risk-taking) tendencies. In addition, there is equivocal evidence for Reticent/circumspect features.

Dominant individuals enjoy the power to direct others and to evoke obedience and respect; they are tough and unsentimental and often make effective leaders. Conscientious leaders are dutiful and diligent, with a strong work ethic and careful attention to detail, excel in crafting public policy, and are more technocratic than visionary. 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.

The concurrently elevated Dominant and Conscientious pattern in Xi’s overall personality configuration is indicative of an aggressive enforcer personality composite. Leaders with this personality prototype are tough, uncompromising, and believe they have a moral duty to punish and control those who deviate from socially sanctioned norms.

Leaders with Xi’s personality profile are likely to exhibit a deliberative leadership style; they are well informed, exhibit depth of comprehension, are able to visualize alternatives and weigh long-term consequences, understand the implications of their decisions, and are cautious and emotionally controlled.

Based on his personality profile, Xi’s foreign policy orientation is anticipated to be primarily that of a high-dominance introvert with an expansionist orientation, characterized by a tendency to dichotomize the world in terms of moral good vs. evil, tenacity in striving to reshape the international system in accordance with his personal vision, and preoccupation with establishing institutions or principles to keep potentially disruptive forces in check.


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, USA, directed by Aubrey Immelman, PhD, associate professor of psychology, who specializes in the psychological assessment of presidential candidates and world leaders.

The research was funded by the Office of Undergraduate Research & Scholars at the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University.

More information and updates:

Xi Jinping Personality and Leadership Profile (ISPP 2021).pptx (38400 kB)
PowerPoint presentation: Xi Jinping’s Personality and Leadership Profile (ISPP 2021)

Xi Jinping ISPP 2021 narrative - PowerPoint Notes.pdf (169 kB)
Narrative Script: Xi Jinping PowerPoint Notes (ISPP 2021)

Xi Jinping poster - MUPC 2022.jpg (1436 kB)
Poster: “The Personality Profile of Chinese President Xi Jinping” (MUPC 2022)

MUPC-2022_Chen-Yunyiyi.jpg (1371 kB)
Photo: Yunyiyi Chen presents Xi Jinping study (MUPC 2022)