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Comparing gender differences of college students on Self Actualization
Melissa A. Velasquez
Missouri Western State College
April 30, 1996
In this study, the administrator chose a random sample of 40 full-time (12 hours) students attending a Midwestern college to participate in the comparison of Self Actualization levels according to AbrahamMaslow (1970). Results indicated no significant gender differences. Overall, the college students in this sample were found to exhibit the need for learning something new everyday and that he/she wanted to continue being educated about any one subject. All seven of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs were analyzed. They were as follows: physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, cognitiveunderstanding, aesthetic, and self actualization. The study showed that the 'need' for education and cognitive understanding were not met. Once these 'needs' are achieved each individual will become self actualized.
The main focal point of this study was to compare male and female college students on their level of 'needs' bringing him/her to selfactualization. Maslow (1970) defines self actualization as "the full use and exploitation of one's talents, capacities, potentialities, etc." Though Maslow stressed that a person's idea of self actualization can be anything from being an ideal mother to being an outstanding athlete. Maslow redefined self actualization by stating that a person is "mature, fully-human" and "whom the humanpotentialities have been realized and actualized"(1970). Maslow created seven 'needs' that a person can meet in order to achieve self actualization. The first 'need' to be met is the physiological need. This need represents the need for adequate food, water, and shelter. The second 'need' according to Maslow is safety. This need refers to the safety from being attacked physically or mentally. The third'need' according to Maslow is love and belonging. This need represents the feeling of belonging to a group and having an identity. The fourth 'need' according to Maslow is esteem. This need refers to feeling good about oneself and feeling good about one's accomplishments and successes. The fifth 'need' according to Maslow is cognitive understanding. This need refers to the need for education andknowledge in one's life. The sixth 'need' according Maslow is the aesthetic need. This need refers to one's artistic appreciation and the appreciation for his/her beauty. The seventh and final 'need' according to Maslow is self actualization. This need refers to the height of human experience. According to Maslow, one must meet their needs in order of progression. For example, if a person didn't meettheir physiological need, then they can not reach their safety need.
Within early research, testing college students according to health-risk behaviors has been very popular. Most of those studies focused on the consumption of alcohol and/or drugs, although there are a few studies which focus on the positive well-being of the college student (Oleckno, 1993). Also there have been a few studiesinvestigating the topic of self actualization. The wellness of college students and the differences by gender, race, and class standing were analyzed by administrators by using the Health-Promoting Lifestyle Profile (1993). There were significant data between females and males and whites and nonwhites. The females seemed to have higher levels of wellness than the males and whites seemed to havehigher levels of wellness than nonwhites. Fogarty (1994) used the Personal Orientation Inventory (POI) to determine self actualization of 74 disadvantaged college students. This study seemed successful to improve feelings of competency and self confidence.
By contrast, relatively few studies have included self-made questionnaires which investigated all of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. The purpose of...
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