John McCain

John McCain’s Personality Profile

The Political Personality of 2008 Republican Presidential Nominee John McCain. Research report, Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, St. John’s University/College of St. Benedict, September 2008. Abstract and link for full-text (26 pages; PDF) download at Digital Commons:

Sen. John McCain: Anger Issues Matter (Aubrey Immelman, St. Cloud Times, Nov. 1, 2008) — As John McCain tries to close the gap with Barack Obama, his task is to convince the American people that he’s the right man to lead the nation at a time when America faces daunting economic challenges at home and urgent national security threats abroad. … Read more

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The Political Personality of 2008 Republican Presidential Nominee John McCain

Aubrey Immelman


This paper presents the results of an indirect assessment of the personality of Arizona senator John McCain, Republican nominee in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, from the conceptual perspective of personologist Theodore Millon.

Psychodiagnostically relevant data regarding Sen. McCain was extracted from biographical sources and published 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 manual. 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 proposals. 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 McCain’s leadership style as chief executive, thus providing a basis for inferring the character and tenor of a prospective McCain presidency.


Immelman, A. (2008, September). The political personality of 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain (Research report). Collegeville and St. Joseph, MN: St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict, Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics. Retrieved from Digital Commons website:

Full text at Digital Commons