A Psychobiography of Hillary Clinton

Project Report, 2018

8 Pages, Grade: 1


Table of Contents


Rationale for Selecting Hillary Clinton and Appropriateness of Personality Theories

The Five Factor Profile of Hillary Clinton

The Myers-Briggs Profile of Hillary Clinton

The Psychoanalytic Theory




Psychobiography is defined as personality analysis approach which employs psychological theory to describe personality traits of historically significant lives. In principle, psychobiography focuses on developing understanding of an individual’s personality, as well as uncovering the underlying private motives which are expressed by an individual through behavior, especially public acts. According to Schultz (2005), public acts that manifest an individual’s personality include the expression of political decisions, postulating scientific theories, or creation of art. As such, this paper provides a comprehensive psychobiography of Hillary Clinton. She is one of the America’s most influential women and she has excelled both in politics and her legal career. Hillary Clinton was born on October 26, 1947 in Chicago. She was the first born of Dorothy Emma Rodham and Hugh Ellsworth Rodham, a Methodist family. Hillary was the eldest sibling of this couple and her other two siblings are Anthony Rodham and Hugh E. Rodham, Jr. She grew up in Illinois since the age of three after her parents relocated from Chicago. After completing her high school in 1965, Hillary enrolled at the Wellesley College to pursue political science. She then joined Yale Law School in 1970 where she got her Juris Doctor degree in 1973. In 1975, Hillary got married to Bill Clinton at the age of 27 years. Thereafter, she bore Chelsea Victoria Clinton in 1980, the only daughter for this couple. She became the United States’ First Lady after the election of Bill Clinton as the US president in 1993 (Blumenthal, 2017). Since then, she has served in various high political positions until recently when attempted to become the first US woman president, but she lost to President Donald Trump. Therefore, this analysis employs the Five Factor Model, the Myers-Briggs theory and the psychoanalytic theory to describe Hillary Clinton’s psychobiography.

Rationale for Selecting Hillary Clinton and Appropriateness of Personality Theories

From a critical perspective, the choice of Hillary Clinton for this analysis was based on several reasons which demonstrate the significance of the psychoanalysis. First, Hillary Clinton has attracted substantial interest in her life. Evidence for this argument is provided by an unprecedented media attention in the recent years. It is also worth noting that there have been numerous publications of her biography, as aspect that has given her prominence as one of the famous women in the US political history. Her attempt to become the first female president in the US in the 2016 presidential campaign propelled her to the highest political status, both locally and internationally. The second reason emerges from her unique juxtaposition, her personal history and political ideologies.

On the other hand, the rationale for the application of the Five Factor model, the Myer-Briggs theory and the psychoanalytic theory is based on their relevance in constructing an in-depth psychoanalysis of Hillary Clinton. The psychobiography methods adopted for this analysis are selected with the main focus being avoiding threats to validity as discussed by Falk (1985) who lists the absence of self analysis, corroboration and distortion as the key pitfalls in psychoanalysis.

The Five Factor Profile of Hillary Clinton

In principle, the Five Factor model, also defined as the Big 5 model, is a scientifically derived approach that is applied to analyze personality traits. It is designed to group a large sample of personality traits into five main features which describes an individual’s personality based on public acts. It uses openness, neuroticism, extraversion, conscientiousness, and agreeableness as the primary features of personality (Block, 2010). In this context, openness describes an individual’s novel experiences, the extent to which one expresses new ideas. As such, it is believed that people who demonstrate a high desire in physical, social and vocational aspects, as well as expressing progressive thinking are considered to have a high degree of openness. On the other hand, conscientiousness is based on an individual’s level of organization and motivation. Additionally, being industrious is considered as one of the features of conscientiousness. From a theoretical perspective, people who demonstrate to be highly ambitious or detail oriented are considered to have a high level of conscientiousness. The factor of extrovert is associated with social contact. People who demonstrate a high rate of extrovert are characterized by outgoing behavior. Additionally, these people are observed to be attention seekers with extensive friendships. Neuroticism explains an individual’s level of mood, distress or anxiety. People with unstable emotions are believed to score high on this factor. Finally, agreeableness is defined as the ability of expressing a high degree of hospitality. In most cases, people who exhibit the ability of building harmonious relationships, especially at times of disagreements are considered to have a high rate of agreeableness (Costa & Mc Crae, 2013). As such, these individuals emerge as mediators. Based on these basic factors of the Five Factor model, the personality of Hillary Clinton can be described in a comprehensive manner.

Openness is one of the key personality traits that emerge from Hillary Clinton’s life history. The fact that she has proved to be an exemplary individual who has challenged traditional norms to emerge successful in her life implies that she has a high score in openness. For instance, Hillary was able to pursue leadership from her days in high school. During this era, leadership was considered to be a preserve for men, but she challenged this notion by taking leadership positions (Gerth & Van Natta Jr., 2007). On the second occasion that shows how she has challenged traditional norms is her career choice of becoming an astronaut. She could not understand the reason why she was denied a chance to become an astronaut, a career she admired and expressed exceptional ambition to pursue. In other words, she challenged gender role expectations, even though she never made her dream of becoming an astronaut real because she was denied that opportunity. On the other hand, she demonstrates a liberal political orientation, an aspect that ranks her high in openness score. However, it is apparent that her traditional beliefs create a paradoxical situation, especially in relation to family and religion. Hillary’s vehement efforts to salvage her marriage while attached to the Methodist doctrine show an exceptional conflict. Based on this conflict portrays her as someone who expresses independence of thought. It is worth noting that these inconsistencies have been the pinching points by her critics who accuse her of being a hypocrite.

Conscientiousness is the second factor that describes Hillary’s personality. From a critical perspective, she is highly conscientious. This is evidenced by her high level of organization and diligence. A focused overview of Hillary’s life history shows a high level of conscientiousness. For instance, she is described as a highly motivated and hardworking individual. These traits can be traced into her childhood. She was a hardworking child at home, apart from demonstrating a high level of motivation as a student. Her student leadership throughout her high school and college years portrays her as an organized person. Similarly, her academic performance since grade school to postgraduate has always been described as exceptional. It was characterized by a high level of diligence. All these traits are replicated in her career as a lawyer. She tirelessly championed for the welfare of children. She has also been engaged in politics with great ambition that demonstrates her energy. For instance, she is reported to have taken bold political approaches in her youth when she worked as Goldwater Girl. On other occasions, her involvement in political campaigns, especially the 1992 presidential campaigns when she supported her husband to win the presidency (Clinton, 2014). Similar energy in politics was demonstrated the recent presidential campaigns when she was a presidential candidate on a Democrat ticket. Therefore, it is explicit that Hillary has been involved in campaigns for a better part of her entire life. What surprises people is how she is always polled as a frontrunner, even at times when she attracts negative ratings as it was during the recent elections when she was implicated in the emails scandal during her term of office as Secretary of State. This can only be explained by high level of conscientiousness.

Extraversion is another primary trait that defines Hillary’s personality. However, her degree of extraversion is highly debatable due to her mixed reactions. Foremost, she demonstrates to be an extravert through her ability to maintain her status as a campaigner and a political figure. These aspects require one to have friendly relationships with people. In retrospection, Hillary was sociable throughout her high school and college life. She was also engaged in church’s youth organizations. Her extravert nature can also be explained by her effort to rejoin with Bill Clinton following their separation after college. The distress she experienced during this period explains how extraverts find it difficult to live alone. Overall, Hillary rates high as an extravert due to her social nature; she always remains engaged in groups even when they prove to be relatively functional.

Moreover, Hillary’s personality can be described on the basis of agreeableness. In principle, conflict situations attract diverse responses. People of goodwill approach such situations either to seek harmonious relationship or influence. Hillary is someone who focuses on influencing. She is reported to have been argumentative and bossy on many accounts. An outstanding example is when she was the First Lady; there were numerous reports of arguments among the couple while in the White House. It is also reported that she had heated arguments with her junior officials on various occasions. This portrays her as someone who is expresses disagreeableness. Based on these aspects, it is possible to figure out why most of her supporters view her as being less agreeable compared to her male political counterparts.

Finally, Hillary’s personality can be rated on her level of neuroticism. This aspect has attracted immense disagreements between biographers. On the one side, some biographers describe Hillary as highly aggressive (Sheckels, 2009). On the other side, biographers observe that these accounts attributable to sexist expectations. However, one thing is clear about her, she loses her temper so quickly and this is evidenced by the way she responds to her political opponents. An explanation for her anger can be traced from her family history. Her family has a history of depression, an aspect that suggests that she acquired her aggressive attitudes during her early years. Her father is said to have expressed anger freely.

The Myers-Briggs Profile of Hillary Clinton

The Myers-Briggs theory can also be applied to build Hillary Clinton’s profile. This theory is based on four primary preferences. Each preferences comprises of a pair of traits. The first preference pairs extraversion (E) versus introversion (I). Extraversion focuses on things and people or information and ideas. The second preference pairs sensing (S) and intuition (N). This implies that people prefer dealing with possibilities or reality. Similarly, the third preference pairs thinking (T) versus feeling (F). The basis of this preference is attributable to people’s preference to deal with truth or values. Finally, the fourth preference pairs judgment (J) with perception (P). This preference shows how people choose different lifestyle versions, either a flowing lifestyle or a well-structured one (Quenk, 2009). With this in mind, it is possible to build Hillary’s profile. From a critical lens, it is agreeable that she fits ENTJ profile. Evidence shows that people who fit in this profile demonstrate appreciable organization and leadership. Hillary shows intuition and confidence in leading teams, as well as the ability to structure organizations. However, this profile is reported to have some negative aspects, including quest for power, lack of analytical skills and empathy. People who fit in this profile require policy architects and program designers to augment their leadership. As such, Hillary shares this profile other prominent figures such as Margaret Thatcher and Bill Gates.


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A Psychobiography of Hillary Clinton
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psychobiography, hillary, clinton
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Caroline Mutuku (Author), 2018, A Psychobiography of Hillary Clinton, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/432465


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