Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Deficiency Motive

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_499-1



A deficiency motive is one that stems from a need, deficit, or lack, the fulfillment of which is necessary for human well-being. Deficiency motives stem from such basic physiological needs as hunger and psychological needs as safety, belonging, and esteem.


This concept originated within Abraham Maslow’s (1954) theory of motivation, which interrelates physiological and psychological needs in a comprehensive holistic theory that emphasizes self-actualization. Maslow (1968) contrasted deficiency motives to growth motives in his pioneering humanistic psychology of personality, psychopathology, and health.

The criteria for deficiency motives laid out by Maslow (1968) are: (1) their extreme lack of fulfillment breeds illness; (2) their fulfillment prevents illness; (3) their restoration of fulfillment cures illness, (4) their fulfillment is preferred by the deprived person over other...


Interpersonal Psychotherapy Holistic Health Growth Motivation Deficiency Motive Holistic Theory 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyFordham UniversityNew YorkUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Monika Wróbel
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of PsychologyUniversity of LodzLodzPoland