Maslow Theory

Published 13 Dec 2016

Abraham Maslow developed a theory termed as Maslow’s theory of the hierarchy of needs. The development of this theory was based on the study of both behavior and psychoanalytic psychology. He said that human behavior is not only controlled by internal or external forces but also by psychology. He therefore came up with a theory termed as humanistic psychology. This theory was based on the fact that human behavior is controlled by both physiological and psychological needs that do not change and are similar origin based on their culture and origin. These needs that were described as hierarchical in their nature were then classified as ‘basic needs’. The basic needs are low in hierarchy. The other needs that were high in hierarchy were classified as ‘growth needs’.

According to this theory, Maslow said that each person must first satisfy basic needs that are on the low level before satisfying basic needs that are on the high level. Basic needs that are on the low level are derived from one’s instincts such as the need for food, water safety and shelter. The other basic needs that are on the high level such as spirituality, understanding and aesthetics are then satisfied later. Maslow defined the needs that are on the highest level in hierarchy as ‘self actualization’. These needs could only be attained when all the other needs below it are met.

Maslow began his theoretical work in 1951 at the Brandeis where he was serving as the chairman of the psychological department where he began crusading for humanistic psychology. People like Rodgers, Mook (1987) and Heylighen (1992) helped him develop this theory by studying the prisoners of Nazi. These people questioned the order of these needs. In conclusion, Maslow came up with a model of the hierarchy of needs which was as follows; psychological (food, water, warmth, shelter), safety (security, freedom from fear, stability), belonging-love (family, friends, spouse), self –esteem (recognition, respect, achievement), and self-actualization (fulfillment, creativity, pursuing inner talent)


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Retrieved on 28th October 2008

Did it help you?