Personality, Childhood Experience, and Political Ideology
Article first published online: 30 SEP 2013
© 2013 International Society of Political Psychology
How to Cite
De Neve, J.-E. (2013), Personality, Childhood Experience, and Political Ideology. Political Psychology. doi: 10.1111/pops.12075
- Article first published online: 30 SEP 2013
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Grant Number: P01-HD31921
This article studies the relationship between the “big five” personality traits and political ideology in a large U.S. representative sample (N = 14,672). In line with research in political psychology, “openness to experience” is found to predict liberal ideology, and “conscientiousness” predicts conservative ideology. The availability of family clusters in the data is leveraged to show that these results are robust to a sibling fixed-effects specification. The way that personality might interact with environmental influences in the development of ideology is also explored. A variety of childhood experiences are studied that may have a differential effect on political ideology based on a respondent's personality profile. Childhood trauma is found to interact with “openness” in predicting ideology, and this complex relationship is investigated using mediation analysis. These findings provide new evidence for the idea that differences in political ideology are deeply intertwined with variation in the nature and nurture of individual personalities.