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Book Chapter

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


This paper presents the results of an indirect assessment of the personality of U.S. president George W. Bush, conducted 1998–2000 from the conceptual perspective of personologist Theodore Millon.

Psychodiagnostically relevant data regarding Bush was extracted 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 Axis II of DSM–IV.

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. Bush was found to be Outgoing/gregarious and Dominant/controlling. A dimensional reconceptualization of the results to examine convergences among the present Millon-based findings, Simonton’s dimensions of presidential style, and the five-factor model of personality suggests that Bush is highly charismatic/extraverted and somewhat interpersonal/agreeable, but not very deliberative/conscientious.

George W. Bush’s major personality-based leadership strengths are his skills in connecting with critical constituencies and mobilizing popular support, and his ability to retain a following and his self-confidence in the face of adversity. His major limitations include propensities for a superficial grasp of complex issues, acting impulsively, and favoring personal connections, friendship, and loyalty over competence in his staffing decisions and appointments.


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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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