The Authoritarian Personality and Economic Distress

Kenneth Hinton, Western Kentucky University


In this study, I combined the personality and social indicator approaches of authoritarianism to determine if these separate approaches reflect similar constructs, and also examined whether economic distress increases authoritarianism and its internal coherence. The writer, in contrast with the time-series designs used in previous social-indicator studies, controlled for extraneous historical events by sampling individuals within the same time period. One hundred and sixty-one employed and 41 unemployed adult manufacturing workers completed a ninety-five-item questionnaire. The questionnaire contained a short version of the right-wing authoritarianism scale (RWA), items reflecting the social indicators of authoritarianism, and both objective (family income, employment status) and subjective (worry about the economy, worry about personal finances) indices of economic distress.