In today’s post we will be discussing one of the key theories that you need to know for the ASWB bachelor’s social work exam. Abraham Maslow (April 1, 1908 – June 8, 1970) researched and created this theory by studying people who were in the top 1% healthiest people in his community, and world known influential people. He study the healthiest instead of those that are would be considered dysfunctional, because studying those considered dysfunctional would lead to a dysfunctional philosophy.
He came to the understanding that there are basic needs that must be met before one is able to focus on learning. These needs are so important that no one can survive without them.
One thing you will need to remember for the social work exam in regards to Maslow’s is his hierarchy of needs. Maslow’s Hierarchy pyramid’s foundation starts with Biological and Physiological needs. A human being can not function well without water for example, so these needs are critical for human survival. Just like the Egyptian and Mayan pyramids ,without a strong and secure foundation all other steps based on top of it will not hold/prevail.
- Metabolic Requirements
- ex.) Air/Water/Food/Sleep
- Protection From Environment
ex.) Clothing/Shelter/Education, like passing the social work exam
The second step from the bottom on the Hierarchy is Safety Needs. Once people don’t have to worry about their basic survival needs they yearn and focus more on protection from injustice as well as their financial needs. They seek fairness and order in the world. When they feel free from danger, (and can be comfortable) they are able to learn more about their environment and reach out to others.
ex.) Savings Account/ Insurance Policies/Stability
ex.) Security/Law/Order/Grievance Procedures
- Physical Needs
ex.) Doctor/Dentist/Eye Care
The next stage of the pyramid is Belongingness and Love Needs. When people are about to feel comfortable about connecting with others, they feel that they have a group to belong too. They also feel that they can reach out to the experts in their lives/community to promote learning. In this stage groups, clubs, social work exam study groups, and activities are important. People can meet others that have the same types of interests as they do. Feeling connected and loved by a community helps build a healthy self esteem as well as self-appreciation.
Belongingness and Love Needs
- Social Groups/Friendships
ex.) Affection/Love/Significant Other
The fourth stage is Self-Esteem Needs. Once a person has found their place in groups they discover activities that they love to do. By doing this they are able build up their self esteem. People will seek satisfaction through their achievements and will work towards their desired reputation. At work they will seek responsibility and try to work up the ladder of success.
For the social work exam you should know that Maslow called these four stages of the pyramid “deficiency needs”/”d-needs”. Although physical needs are apart of the “d-needs”, physiological needs are NOT. If the “d-needs” are not meet, the body would not even consider to focus its motivation on higher level of needs, such as spirituality. The person will feel anxious and tense.
The last stage you will need to recall for the social work exam of Maslow’s main five Hierarchy Pyramid is Self-Actualization. Being a Humanist, Maslow believes that humans strive to reach their fullest potential. People who look for wisdom and personal growth have mastered the other stages of this hierarchy, and are fully functional.
- Fulfillment/Personal Growth
So what do you need to know about Maslow for the social work exam? Well in summary for a person to become fully functional, their environment must be in a healthy condition. For example a person can’t look for activity groups if they are deprived of food and water. If people are not able to grow in a healthy environment they tend to became depressed, have anxiety, and may develop a inferiority complex. This hierarchy shows that there are basic categories that must be met, before the individual will seek higher categories.
How many other stages of needs from Maslow’s Hierarchy Pyramid do you know? Where are you at on this Pyramid? If you are not at the Self-Actualization stage, what’s holding you back? I would love to hear your comments/stories.