Self-actualization is a term that has been used in
various psychology theories of Goldstein, Maslow and Rogers. According to hierarchy of needs Maslow's theory, people
have lower order needs that in general must be fulfilled before high order needs can be
satisfied. As a person moves up Maslow's hierarchy of needs, eventually they will reach
the summit, self-actualization.
Self-actualization theory was originally introduced by
the organismic theorist Kurt Goldstein for the motive to realize one's full potential.
Self-actualization theory was brought to prominence in Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs
According to Maslow self-actualised person
"possesses an unusual ability to detect the spurious, the fake, the dishonest in
Self-actualization is the tendency to actualize, as much
as possible, individual capacities" in the world.
Kurt Goldstein defined self-actualization as a driving
life force that will ultimately lead to maximizing one's abilities and determine the path
of one's life; compare will to power.
The Failure of Self-Actualization Theory
- A Critique of Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow
Leonard Geller, Journal of Humanistic Psychology January 1, 2008 48: 116-135
Abstract: This inquiry critically examines the self-actualization theories of Carl Rogers
and Abraham Maslow. Neither theory, it is argued, is correct. Rogers's theory is
unacceptable insofar as his conception of the touchstone or standard of self-actualization
is false, incoherent, and unworkable in practice. Beyond critiquing Rogers and Maslow, I
attempt to establish the general presumption that self-actualization theory as such has
very little to offer toward understanding and improving the human condition within
late-twentieth-century Western society.
The Myth of Self-Actualization - Michael Daniels
Section of Psychology, Liverpool Polytechnic, Journal of Humanistic Psychology January 1,
Abstract: I argue that the primary function of a theory of self-actualization is to
establish a myth of human development that provides conceptual support for people seeking
fulfillment and offers clear normative guidance. There are ambiguities and contradictions
in the self-actualization theory, and several conceptual elements may inhibit or corrupt
the process of selfactualization.
Self-Actualization in the Corporate Hierarchy
North American Journal of Psychology, 2006 by John M. Mahoney, Hester L. Dorer
Summary: It has been argued that the level of individual actualizing contributes to not
only the success of the individual, but also to the success of the organization.
Individuals at the higher organizational levels rated their job as more important than did
those at lower levels. The level of self-actualizing was correlated to job satisfaction
regardless of the hierarchical level, and level of actualizing was correlated to type of
Compatibility of self-actualization and anxiety
- Orin Dodez, Paul F. Zelhart, Robert P. Markley
Journal of Clinical Psychology, Volume 38, Issue 4, pages 696702, October 1982
Abstract: Dabrowski's (1972) theory of positive disintegration argues that anxiety appears
to be the dynamic of self-actualization. The current study further examined the empirical
and conceptual relation between anxiety and self-actualization. A measure of
self-actualization (the POI) and two measures of anxiety were taken from Ss (N = 126).
Thirty-three items from the POI were found to be measures of anxiety and were scored
negatively for self-actualization. Removal of anxiety items and rescoring of the POI
yielded self-actualization measures that were related positively to anxiety test scores.
THE RELATIONSHIP OF SELF-ACTUALIZATION TO SOCIAL SUPPORT, LIFE STRESS, AND
ADJUSTMENT - Ford, Gary G.; Procidano, Mary E.
Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, Volume 18, Number 1, 1990.
Abstract: The previously unexplored relationship of self-actualization to life stress and
perceived social support from family and from friends was investigated. Measures of all variables were administered to 54 female and 52 male adult
undergraduate students (age range of 18-81 years). Significant sex differences discovered
in the relationship of self-actualization to perceived social support are discussed in
terms of possible sex differences in the developmental process of self-actualization.
A cognitive-systemic reconstruction of maslow's theory of self-actualization,
Francis Heylighen, Behavioral Science, Volume 37, Issue 1, pages 3958, January 1992
Abstract: Maslow's need hierarchy and model of the self-actualizing personality are
reviewed and criticized. The definition of self-actualization is found to be confusing,
and the gratification of all needs is concluded to be insufficient to explain
self-actualization. Therefore the theory is reconstructed on the basis of a second-order,
cognitive-systemic framework. A hierarchy of basic needs is
derived from the urgency of perturbations which an autonomous system must compensate in
order to maintain its identity. Self-actualization is redefined as the perceived
competence to satisfy these basic needs in due time.
Effects of defensiveness and self-actualization on a Herzberg replication
John Paul Szura1 and Mary E. Vermillion, Illinois Institute of Technology, USA
Journal of Vocational Behavior, Volume 7, Issue 2, October 1975, Pages 181-187
Abstract: Two hundred workers were tested for self-actualization, internal vs external
locus-of-control, repression vs sensitization, and the tendency to attribute job
satisfaction and dissatisfaction to motivators and hygienes. Results indicated that
self-actualization is related to the attribution of satisfaction to both motivators and