Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model.

Abraham Maslow developed a model in which basic, low-level needs such as physiological requirements and safety must be satisfied before higher-level needs such as self-fulfillment are pursued.

“A prepotent need is one that has the greatest influence over our actions. Everyone has a prepotent need, but that need will vary among individuals.” (R. Smith, 2002).

“Once a lower need has been satisfied, it no longer acts as a strong motivator. The needs of the next higher level in the hierarchy demand satisfaction and become the motivating influence” (Mullins, 2010). Maslow's hierarchy of needs is shown in the diagram.


Figure (1): Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Biological and Physiological needs: are the very basic needs such as air, water, food, sleep, etc. When these are not satisfied we may feel sickness, irritation, pain, discomfort, etc. These feelings motivate us but once they are alleviated, we may think about other things.

Safety needs: Safety and security is an important need in order to be free from threats to be free from the threat of physical and emotional harm, i.e living in a safe area, Medical insurance, Job security, financial reserves and stability.

Belongingness and love needs: Humans have a desire to belong to groups: clubs, work groups, religious groups, family, and gangs. We need to feel loved (non-sexual) by others, to be accepted by others. We need to be needed.

Esteem needs: “May be classified as internal or external. Internal esteem needs are those related to self-esteem such as self-respect and achievement. External esteem needs are those such as social status and recognition” (British Arab Academy, 2011), i.e. Self-respect, Achievement, Attention, Recognition and Reputation.

Self-Actualization: Unlike lower level needs, this need is never fully satisfied; as one grows psychologically there are always new opportunities to continue to grow. Self-actualized people tend to have needs such asTruth, Justice, Wisdom and Meaning.


Maslow, A.H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50(4), 370–96. Retrieved from