Personality Traits and Socio-Demographic Variables as Predictors of Political Interest and Voting Behavior in a British Cohort
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Individual Differences. 2019, 40,118-125. 10.1027/1614-0001/a000283
This study examines the associations between socio-demographic variables, the Big Five personality traits, and the extent of political interest as well as voting behavior, in a large, nationally representative sample in the UK. The contribution of the Big Five personality traits to political issues over and above demography, education, and social class was the central focus. The analytic sample comprised 7,135 cohort members with complete data. Correlational analysis showed that personality traits and demographic variables were significantly associated with both political interest and voting behavior. Regression analysis showed that sex, education and occupation, and four of the five personality traits were significantly and independently associated with political interest in adulthood. Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Openness were significantly and positively associated with political interest, whereas Conscientiousness was negatively associated with the outcome variable. Personality accounted for incremental variance. Further, parental social class, education and occupation, and traits Emotional Stability and Openness were all significantly and positively associated with voting behavior. The results confirm other studies and show that personality traits account for unique variance over and above demographic factors in predicting political interests and behaviors.