Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics

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Personality Profile of 2008 Republican Presidential Contender John McCain

 Aubrey Immelman and Julie Seifert
St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict

Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics
Dept. of Psychology
St. Joseph, MN 56374, U.S.A.

This research report presents the results of an analysis of the personality of Arizona senator John McCain, contender for the Republican Party nomination in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, from the conceptual perspective of personologist Theodore Millon. Information concerning Sen. McCain was collected from biographical sources and media reports and synthesized into a personality profile using the second edition of 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 on the basis of interpretive guidelines provided in the MIDC and Millon Index of Personality Styles manuals. Sen. McCain’s primary personality pattern was found to be Dauntless/dissenting, with secondary features of the Outgoing/gregarious and Dominant/controlling patterns.

The combination of Dauntless and Outgoing patterns in McCain’s profile suggests a risk-taking adventurer personality composite. Leaders with this personality prototype are characteristically bold, fearless, sensation seeking, and driven by a need to prove their mettle.

McCain’s major personality strengths in a leadership role are the important personality-based political skills of independence, persuasiveness, and courage, coupled with a socially responsive, outgoing tendency that can be instrumental in connecting with critical constituencies for mobilizing support and implementing policy initiatives. His major personality-based limitation is a predisposition to impulsiveness, one manifestation of which is a deficit of emotional restraint.

The major implication of the study is that it offers an empirically based personological framework for anticipating Sen. McCain’s likely leadership style as chief executive, thus providing a basis for inferring the character and tenor of a prospective McCain presidency.

MIDC Scale Scores

Page maintained by Aubrey Immelman

Last updated January 08, 2008