Essays on Anger, Personality, and American Political Behavior Restricted; Files & ToC

Webster, Steven (Spring 2018)

Permanent URL:


American politics in the 21st century is largely defined by heightened levels of anger and negativity. Yet, existing studies have done little to understand the ways in which anger and its associated personality dimensions combine to shape patterns of political behavior. In this dissertation, I present a series of studies illustrating the ways in which anger, as well as an individual’s broader personality profile, affect patterns of political behavior and public opinion. In the first chapter I link the Big Five personality traits to the development of negative partisanship within the American electorate, with a particular focus on the role of Extraversion and Agreeableness. In the second chapter I utilize a new measure of anger, derived from clinical psychology, to show how individuals whose personality profile predisposes them to be angry differ from their more pacific counterparts. Finally, in the third chapter I employ an experimental design to show how heightened levels of both political and incidental anger cause a reduction in individuals’ trust in government. Taken as a whole, this dissertation provides compelling evidence that anger plays a powerful role in explaining contemporary mass political behavior.

Table of Contents

This table of contents is under embargo until 21 May 2024

About this Dissertation

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
  • English
Research Field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified Preview image embargoed

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files