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Keesha Holden-White Marie Laramee Wilmington University Spring 2010. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Abraham Maslow. Background. Research. First to study the Psychology of Health Human Sexuality Humanistic Psychology. Born April 1, 1908 in Brooklyn, NY One of seven siblings

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Keesha holden white marie laramee wilmington university spring 2010

Keesha Holden-White

Marie Laramee

Wilmington University

Spring 2010

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham maslow
Abraham Maslow



First to study the Psychology of Health

Human Sexuality

Humanistic Psychology

  • Born April 1, 1908 in Brooklyn, NY

  • One of seven siblings

  • Married to first cousin

  • Died June 8, 1970


    City College of New York

  • Studied Law

    University of Wisconsin

  • Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology- 1930

  • Master of Arts Degree in

    Psychology – 1931

  • PhD Psychology- 1934

“What a man can be, he must be.”

(, 2008)

Theory origin description
Theory Origin & Description


~ Influenced by Kurt Goldstein who introduced him to the idea of self-actualization

  • ~His own close encounter with death had an impact on his outlook on life and self-actualization

    ~ Maslow’s humanistic psychology focused on the development of healthy people

    Description of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs

  • Maslow’s theory is based on the idea that some needs, physical as well as psychological, take precedence over others.

  • The needs are placed in a pyramid with the most important making the base 

  • If the basic needs are not met, the base of the pyramid is not formed and the rest of the needs are not achieved.

  • The first levels of needs are the deficiency needs, those that if not met cause a deficiency, or lack that motivates a person to strive to achieve the need.

  • The fifth level, the actualization level, is a growth level.

  • Few people ever reach the growth level and spend their lives going up and down the pyramid meeting the lower level needs.

    (, 2008) 

  • Problem-Solving,

    Art, Beauty, Freedom

    Personal Fulfillment, Creativity

    As an individual becomes more

    self-actualized, one becomes wiser and automatically knows what to do in a wide variety of situations




    Social Needs

    Friendship, Family Belonging, Identity

    Esteem Needs


    Confidence, Justice, Respect, Recognition

    Safety Needs

    Security of the body, Health and Property

    Physiological Needs

    Food, Water, Sleep

    Theory description
    Theory Description

    Maslow’s Theory

    A hierarchy of important processes

    that are critical for development and growth

    of the total person (McEwen & Wills, 2007).

    • Lights! Camera! Action!

      YouTube Video on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs


    According to McEwen (2007),

    Maslow’s theory has been utilized in

    research on humanistic psychology:


    Daly, Jackson ,and Davidson described how humanistic psychology added the concept of hope to nursing.


    Acton and Malathum examined promotion of self-care behaviors in adults


    Hendry and Douglas examined enhancing quality of life for clients diagnosed with dementia


    Benson and Dundis researched how to motivate employees

    Current research has been conducted based on different operationalizations of Maslow’s concepts.

    • Maslow was the first to study “healthy self-actualizers” rather than to focus on abnormal “psychology”

    • Maslow organized the Journal of Humanistic Psychology and the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology

    Application to nursing practice
    Application to Nursing Practice

    Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is easily applied to nursing practice.

    • The theory focuses on human potential, “gives hope a chance”.

    • The theory allows the nurse to highlight the person’s strengths instead of focusing on one’s deficits (McEwen & Wills, 2007).

    • Basic needs such as air, food, drink and warmth , are the basic needs of human survival and health.

    • Safety, be it with ambulation or in taking medication, is very important to nursing.

    • Social needs are met with visiting hours and through the nurse-patient (care-giver) relationship

    • Esteem and self-actualization may or may not be met in the hospital setting.

    • The theory provides the blueprint for prioritizing client care according to a hierarchy of needs (McEwen & Wills, 2007).

    Personal Nursing Practice

    • Marie~

    • “I don’t use Maslow as much in my nursing practice.  The basic needs of my patients are not met in the office setting.  The safety needs are addressed in relation to health.  The esteem and higher levels are not touched upon in the office setting. “

    • Keesha~

    • “I utilize Maslow’s Hierarchy while caring for patients in the hospital setting. It’s imperative in this line of work to address our patient’s individual needs (all of which are listed n Maslow’s hierarchy). As nurses, our nursing care encompasses finding the inherent goodness in people. By assisting patients in meeting their needs, there’s a sense of achievement and satisfaction had by all. As we satisfy our physiological needs including food, shelter, water we can better address our safety and emotional needs. When we meet our esteem needs we are better communicators, listeners, educators, therefore satisfy our social needs. Self-actualization needs appear to be more complex for some patients and nurses, but with time are attainable.”


    There are many criticisms to Maslow’s theory

    • There is no explanation for those that put themselves in danger to help another.

    • There are some cultures that put social needs above other basic needs.

    • There is no explanation for the “starving artist”, the person who will give up food and drink in deference to their art.

      (NetNBA, 2002-2007) 

    • There’s minimal evidence to suggest that Maslow’s needs are in a hierarchical order

    • Wahba & Bridwell (1976) claim that Maslow’s definition of self-actualization is difficult to test scientifically and found little evidence for the ranking of Maslow’s needs or any existence of a definite hierarchy

    • Maslow’s theory has been challenged by other theorists who hypothesize that there are only three levels of human needs

    Maslow s last interview
    Maslow’s Last Interview


    “I had a vision of a peace table, with people sitting around it, talking about human nature and hatred, war and peace, and brotherhood. I was too old to go into the army (1941). It was at that moment I realized that the rest of my life must be devoted to discovering a psychology for the peace table. That moment changed my whole life. Since then, I've devoted myself to developing a theory of human nature that could be tested by experiment and research. I wanted to prove that humans are capable of something grander than war, prejudice, and hatred. I wanted to make science consider all the people: the best specimen of mankind I could find. I found that many of them reported having something like mystical experiences.”

    - Abraham Maslow



    Abraham Maslow. (2008, April 3). New World Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 10, 2010, from

    Abraham Maslow Father of modern management. (2009). Maslow's Hierarchy of

    Needs . Retrieved April 11, 2010, from Abraham Maslow Father of modern management:

    Boeree, D. C. (2006). Abraham Maslow. Retrieved April 10, 2010, from Personality Theories: (1995-2010). Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Retrieved April 11, 2010,

    from (2008). Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Retrieved April 12, 2010,


    McEwen, M., & Wills, E. M. (2007). Theoretical basis for nursing (2nd ed.). Pennsylvania:Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

    NetNBA. (2002-2007). Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Retrieved April 12, 2010, from NetNBA

    Business knowledge center:

    Wahba, M. A. & Bridwell, L. G. (1976) Maslow reconsidered; A review of research on the need hierarchy theory.

    Organization Behavior and Human Performance, 15, 212-240.