Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

The hierarchical effect

A key aspect of the model is the hierarchical nature of the needs. The lower the needs in the hierarchy, the more fundamental they are and the more a person will tend to abandon the higher needs in order to pay attention to sufficiently meeting the lower needs. For example, when we are ill, we care little for what others think about us: all we want is to get better.

The five needs

  • Physiological needs are to do with the maintenance of the human body. If we are unwell, then little else matters until we recover.
  • Safety needs are about putting a roof over our heads and keeping us from harm. If we are rich, strong and powerful, or have good friends, we can make ourselves safe.
  • Belonging needs introduce our tribal nature. If we are helpful and kind to others they will want us as friends.
  • Esteem needs are for a higher position within a group. If people respect us, we have greater power.
  • Self-actualization needs are to ‘become what we are capable of becoming’, which would be our greatest