Could Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs Explain Depression in Men?

By Nico Lagan
April 23, 2023
By Nico Lagan
April 23, 2023

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

In 1954, American psychologist Abraham Maslow created a psychological model called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Theorizing that humans have 2 sets of needs: deficiency and growth. And that these 2 sets of needs are divided into 5 stages: Physiological needs, Safety and Security, Love and Belonging, Self-Esteem, and Self-Actualization.

The deficiency needs are our basic physiological and psychological survival needs. Such as air, water, food, shelter, sleep, clothing, reproduction (Physiological needs stage), and our need for security and freedom from danger: personal security, employment, resources, health, property, family, and social ability (Safety needs stage).

The growth needs are more psychological in nature and are associated with the individual realizing his own potential. We have a need for friendship, family, intimacy, and a sense of connection (Love and Belonging stage). Humans need to feel unique, have confidence, achieve, and be respected (Self-Esteem stage). Finally, morality, creativity, and purpose are needs that we have when every underlying need has been met (Self-Actualization stage).

Getting to the next stage

When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense: if you are starving or thirsty, nothing else matters. This is all you will think about, life or death! Survival mode is all about the now. Everything else is just a distraction. Only once your primary needs (Physiological needs stage) are dealt with can you switch your focus to improving your circumstances. Then the question becomes can you afford a place to live, more and better food, and start taking care of your health? Money and resources are crucial to feeling protected (Safety Needs stage)! And the better your job, the better you eat, the nicer the neighborhood your house is in, the safer you feel. But safety is not enough! When survival is a thing of the past, your emotional needs come to the surface. Without the stress of survival always keeping you on your toes, you will quickly realize that you are a social creature; you want to have people around you that you can relate to and require companionship. You want to be loved and to belong (Love and Belonging stage).

In North America, as in most developed countries, very few experience the first 2 stages. One can argue that poverty is a reality, and it is, but although there were times in my life when I didn’t have a roof over my head, and I couldn’t afford food, the chances of dying from starvation were never a reality. There are resources available for those in need. I’ve also never been on the run, persecuted for my beliefs. One of the many blessings of being born in North America is that we skip the first 2 stages and start directly at stage 3. We are to be thankful for our forefathers, who built a society where these needs are met and where we can concentrate on our higher needs, our psychological needs.

But how do we explain that most young men are trapped in the third stage? Are they struggling to evolve out of the stage they were born in?

Could it be because their need for belonging is not being fulfilled? That without guidance, they are lost? That this is the reason why our young men are ”depressed”?

Until next time, remember that the world is changed one man at a time and that it only takes one man to change the world!


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