Political Behavior

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 425–451 | Cite as

Personality and Political Participation: The Mediation Hypothesis

  • Aina GallegoEmail author
  • Daniel Oberski
Original Paper


Recent analyses have demonstrated that personality affects political behavior. According to the mediation hypothesis, the effect of personality on political participation is mediated by classical predictors, such as political interest, internal efficacy, political discussion, or the sense that voting is a civic duty. This paper outlines various paths that link personality traits to two participatory activities: voter turnout in European Parliament elections and participation in protest actions. The hypotheses are tested with data from a large, nationally representative, face-to-face survey of the Spanish population conducted before and after the 2009 European Parliament elections using log-linear path models that are well suited to study indirect relationships. The results clearly confirm that the effects of personality traits on voter turnout and protest participation are sizeable but indirect. They are mediated by attitudinal predictors.


Personality Voter turnout Protest participation Political psychology Path models 



We thank the anonymous reviewers and the editors whose careful comments grealy helped improving the manuscript. For comments on previous versions we thank André Blais, Karen Jusko and the participants of the 2010 ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops on Personality and Voter Turnout, the 2010 ISPP Conference, and the Research Forum at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. The paper would not have been possible without the support of the Spanish Centro de Investigaciones Sociologicas, the European Science Foundation (07-HumVIB-FP-004 “Voter turnout and abstention in context”), and the Research and Expertise Center for Survey Methodology at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. The usual caveat applies.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Facultat de Ciències Polítiques i SociologiaUniversitat Autonoma de BarcelonaBellaterraSpain
  2. 2.Tilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Universitat Pompeu FabraBarcelonaSpain

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