Political Discontent in China Is Associated with Isolating Personality Traits

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6 Scopus citations


Our personalities affect how we understand the political world, but research to date has focused almost exclusively on democratic contexts. How is personality related to political attitudes and behavior in authoritarian systems? Three original surveys of Chinese citizens (Nstudy1 p 2,024, Nstudy2 p 3,573, Nstudy3 p 1,986) show that discontented citizens in contemporary China are more fearful, disagreeable, and introverted, lacking close emotional attachments to others. Conversely, Chinese Communist Party members show high levels of extraversion and other traits associated with personal and professional success. These findings suggest a social element to regime support. China’s most dissatisfied citizens operate at the fringes of society, which may contribute to the durability of authoritarian rule in the country.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2172-2187
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Politics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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