Personality’s cross-national impact across EU attitude dimensions

K. Amber Curtis, Julie Hassing Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Studies increasingly suggest that personal predispositions affect political attitudes, including those towards the European Union (EU). Yet little is known about the extent to which personality effects on EU support generalize across European countries or attitude domains. We use original survey data from five EU member states (Denmark, Germany, Poland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom) to investigate how the Big Five (B5) traits affect four different facets of public opinion toward the EU (support for further EU unification, views on EU membership, trust in EU institutions and support for using the euro). While we find that each of the B5 matters in at least one place, we find little consistency in personality’s effects across countries. Neither does any pattern emerge across most dimensions of EU support. Our results underscore the importance of isolating the contextual factors that might condition personality’s impact. They further call for greater theoretical development regarding why and how only certain national environments appear to lend themselves to personality effects. At a minimum, they suggest scholars should be wary of drawing conclusions about the B5’s impact from single cases.

Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch and Politics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)

Free keywords

  • Big Five personality traits
  • contextual effects
  • EU support
  • European integration
  • Euroscepticism
  • political psychology


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