Channels of participation: Political participant types and personality

David Johann, Markus Steinbrecher, Kathrin Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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This article employs a person-centred approach to test the relationship between personality traits and empirically defined political participant types. We argue that it is more appropriate to focus on types of participants to test the relationship between personality and political participation than on individual modes or latent dimensions of political participation. Our reasoning is that the person-centred approach allows us to learn more about how and why citizens combine different modes of participation from a tool kit of available political activities to achieve a goal as a function of their personality. We rely on data collected by the German Longitudinal Election Study 2017 (GLES, ZA6801). On the basis of a set of survey questions enquiring on political activities that people take part in, Latent Class Analysis allows us to identify three political participant types (inactives, voting specialists, and complete activists). The 10-item Big Five Inventory (BFI-10) measures respondents' personality traits. Our findings suggest that conscientious people are more likely to affiliate with the voting specialists and extroverts with the more active participant types in Germany.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0240671
Number of pages13
JournalPloS ONE
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Authors in alphabetical order. We thank Emma Conforti, Johann Gründi, Steffen Kramer and Klaus Trenkwalder for their research assistance. Previous version of the paper, which were Supported by the Austrian National Election Study (AUTNES), a National Research Network (NFN) sponsored by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) [S10902-G11], were presented at the 67th Annual Conference of the World Association for Public Opinion Research (Nice, 2-6 September 2014) and the Annual Conference of the Working Group ‘Election and Political Attitudes’ of the German Political Science Association (Düsseldorf, 11-12 June 2015).


  • Personality
  • personality traits
  • Elections
  • Germany
  • Transportation
  • Emotions
  • Factor analysis
  • surveys


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