- Proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper A Theory of Human Motivation.
- Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a motivational theory that argues that while people aim to meet basic needs, they seek to meet successively higher needs in the form of a hierarchy.
- Maslow’s theoryhas been applied in nursing to guide the prioritization of patient care needs
- It is often represented as a pyramid with five levels of needs.
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Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a based on the theory that one level of needs must be met before moving on to the next step.
- Self-actualization – e.g. morality, creativity, problem solving.
- Esteem – e.g. confidence, self-esteem, achievement, respect.
- Belongingness – e.g. love, friendship, intimacy, family.
- Safety – e.g. security of environment, employment, resources, health, property.
- Physiological – e.g. air, food, water, sex, sleep, other factors towards homeostasis.
- Maslow’s theory maintains that a person does not feel a higher need until the needs of the current level have been satisfied.
B and D Needs
Deficiency or deprivation needs
The first four levels are considered deficiency or deprivation needs (“D-needs”) in that their lack of satisfaction causes a deficiency that motivates people to meet these needs
Growth Needs or B-Needs or Being Needs
- The needs Maslow believed to be higher, healthier, and more likely to emerge in self-actualizing people were being needs, or B-needs.
- Growth needs are the highest level, which is self-actualization, or the self-fulfillment.
- Maslow suggested that only two percent of the people in the world achieve self actualization. E.g. Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt.
- Self actualized people were reality and problem centered.
- They enjoyed being by themselves, and having deeper relationships with a few people instead of more shallow relations with many people.
- They tended to be spontaneous and simple.
Application in Nursing
- Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a useful organizational framework that can be applied to the various nursing models for assessment of a patient’s strengths, limitations, and need for nursing interventions. (Smeltzer SC, Bare BG, 2004)
- Health Care Delivery and Nursing Practice. In Brunner & Suddarth’s Textbook of Medical-Surgical Nursing, (Edtrs. Smeltzer SC, Bare BG.) 10th Edition. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. Philadelphia. 2003.
- Psychiatry, Third Edition. Edited by Allan Tasman, Jerald Kay, Jeffrey A. Lieberman, Michael B. First and Mario Maj. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2008.
- Maslow, A. H.. A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review, 50, 1943. pp. 370.