• right-wing-authoritarianism;
  • social conformity;
  • personal need for structure;
  • openness to experience


Several personality constructs have been theorised to underlie right-wing authoritarianism (RWA). In samples from New Zealand and Germany (Ns = 218, 259), we tested whether these constructs can account for specific variance in RWA. In both samples, social conformity and personal need for structure were independent predictors of RWA. In Sample 2, where also openness to experience was measured, social conformity and personal need for structure fully mediated the impact of the higher-order factor of openness on RWA. Our results contribute to the integration of current approaches to the personality basis of authoritarianism and suggest that two distinct personality processes contribute to RWA: An interpersonal process related to social conformity and an intrapersonal process related to rigid cognitive style. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.