Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hubris syndrome: An acquired personality disorder?

Sigh....a nice clinical description of our recently departed president...Owen and Davidson offer a study of US presidents and UK prime ministers over the past 100 years. Here are a few clips:
We believe that extreme hubristic behaviour is a syndrome, constituting a cluster of features (‘symptoms’) evoked by a specific trigger (power), and usually remitting when power fades. ‘Hubris syndrome’ is seen as an acquired condition, and therefore different from most personality disorders which are traditionally seen as persistent throughout adulthood. The key concept is that hubris syndrome is a disorder of the possession of power, particularly power which has been associated with overwhelming success, held for a period of years and with minimal constraint on the leader.

The ability to make swift decisions, sometimes based on little evidence, is of particular importance—arguably necessary—in a leader. Similarly, a thin-skinned person will not be able to stand the process of public scrutiny, attacks by opponents and back-stabbings from within, without some form of self-exultation and grand belief about their own mission and importance. Powerful leaders are a highly selected sample and many criteria of any syndrome based on hubris are those behaviours by which they are probably selected—they make up the pores of the filter through which such individuals must pass to achieve high office.
Owen and Davidson define hubris syndrome: a pattern of behaviour in a person who: (i) sees the world as a place for self-glorification through the use of power; (ii) has a tendency to take action primarily to enhance personal image; (iii) shows disproportionate concern for image and presentation; (iv) exhibits messianic zeal and exaltation in speech; (v) conflates self with nation or organization; (vi) uses the royal ‘we’ in conversation; (vii) shows excessive self-confidence; (viii) manifestly has contempt for others; (ix) shows accountability only to a higher court (history or God); (x) displays unshakeable belief that they will be vindicated in that court; (xi) loses contact with reality; (xii) resorts to restlessness, recklessness and impulsive actions; (xiii) allows moral rectitude to obviate consideration of practicality, cost or outcome; and (xiv) displays incompetence with disregard for nuts and bolts of policy making.


  1. Anonymous9:45 AM

    Sounds like the Honourable Prime Minister of Dominica. Roosevelt Skerrit!

  2. Disgusted and disappointed but living in hope.7:53 AM

    Nah, that souunds more like Patrick Mervyn Augustus Manning ,that's why he is EX PRIME MINISTER of Trinidad and Tobago. Hear that, EX PRIME MINISTER.

    You are the only idiot to call a snap election TWICE and lose and guess what, only you alone knew this time the election date, so what does that say of you. Moron. This is the problem with some black people who have power in the palm of their hands, this is all black people have and you threw it away. NOW GO and let us build back up the PNM-People's National Movement WITHOUT YOU.


  3. AyannaL10:32 AM

    I totally agree with this explanation. After being in power for so long, our PMs and Presidents start losing themselves within power!

  4. Anonymous12:16 PM

    I have a boss just so

  5. Anonymous11:06 PM

    I totally agree with the first comment that the prime minister of Dominica definately exhibits symptoms of hubris syndrome.

  6. Anonymous11:15 PM

    I think that the prime minister of Dominica has everyone of these symptoms and is very dangerous as the leader of this nature isle. We the people must stop him now, its already too late. He needs help.

  7. Anonymous7:39 PM

    to be honest, this sort of sounds like everybody I've ever known. I mean, apparently everybody thinks they are above average drivers - I wouldn't be surprised if this overconfidence apply to other everyday situations - not just the megalomaniacs on the tv.