School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Gary Kuhne


Maslow, hierarchy of needs, educational attainment, time since completion, self-actualization


Educational Leadership | Educational Psychology


The purpose of this quantitative, correlational research study was to investigate how accurately an individual’s needs satisfaction (i.e., the criterion variables) may be predicted from the combination of educational attainment and time since completion (i.e., the predictor variables). The present study addresses a gap in the literature regarding whether secondary education, post-secondary education, or both, correlate to the satisfaction of Maslow’s hierarchical needs across a broad spectrum sample of the United States population. A US-based quota sample of 245 paid adult participants operating on Prolific Academic’s online research platform provided the data within a Qualtrics-hosted version of the Five Need Satisfaction Measure (FNSM). Sample participants were screened and assigned to quota-limited groups based on educational attainment. The data for this correlational study was analyzed with multiple linear regression testing to determine whether a relationship exists between the predictor and criterion variables. The present study demonstrates that post-secondary education combined with time since completion positively correlates to the satisfaction of all five levels of Maslovian needs. This relationship reveals the previously unrecognized connection between educational attainment and individual need satisfaction, meaning that individuals able to further their education will more readily satisfy needs from the most elementary to the most idyllic. Generalizable to a larger US population, the present study’s findings may have importance in facilitating higher academic achievement rates amongst future generations. Future research should include a larger sample population focusing on the inclusion of older participants across all ranges of educational attainment.