Personality Profile of U.S. President Barack Obama

This research report presents the results of an indirect assessment of the personality of U.S. president-elect Barack Obama, from the conceptual perspective of personologist Theodore Millon. Information concerning Obama 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. Obama’s primary personality patterns were found to be Ambitious/confident and Dominant/asserting, with secondary features of the Accommodating/cooperative, Conscientious/respectful, and Outgoing/congenial patterns.

The combination of Ambitious and Accommodating patterns in Obama’s profile suggests a confident conciliator personality composite. Leaders with this personality prototype, though self-assured and ambitious, are characteristically gracious, considerate, and benevolent. They are energetic, charming, and agreeable, with a special talent for settling differences and a preference for mediation and compromise over force or coercion as a strategy for resolving conflict. They are driven primarily by a need for achievement, but also have substantial affiliation needs and a modest need for power.

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

Aubrey Immelman and Sarah Moore

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