Mediational role of values in linking personality traits to political orientation


Gianvittorio Caprara, Department of Psychology, University of Rome ‘Sapienza’, Via dei Marsi 78, 00185 Rome, Italy. Email:


Two studies use the Five Factor Model of traits and Schwartz's (1992) theory of basic personal values to assess the mediational role of values in linking traits to voting choice and left-right ideology. Both left- and right-wing voters showed distinctive traits and values that were congruent with their ideologies. Structural equation modelling supported a hypothesized full mediation model. Individuals' traits of openness, conscientiousness and agreeableness explained significant variance in the politically relevant values of security and universalism, and these self-reported values, in turn, explained the voters' political orientations. These findings held across age (adolescents and adults) and were corroborated using both cross-sectional and longitudinal data.