Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

John M. Mahoney


The present study investigated Maslow's assertion that individuals who were insecure and dominant would express their insecurity in a different manner than those individuals who were insecure and submissive. The amount of time spent on a puzzle solving task was used as an index of the expression of insecurity. It was hypothesized that there would be a significant interaction of security and dominance on the amount of time spent on the puzzle solving task, with the insecure-dominant group demonstrating more persistence than the insecure-submissive group at the task.

A pool of potential subjects completed Maslow's (1952) Security-Insecurity Inventory and the E factor of the 16 PF. Individuals with extreme scores were assigned to either the secure-dominant, secure-submissive, insecure-dominant, or insecure-submissive group. Subjects were tested individually.

A total of 52 subjects, 20 males and 32 females, participated in the study. Each cell contained a proportional number of males and females. The hypothesized interaction of security and dominance failed to materialize. There were no significant main effects. These findings were explained in terms of task appropriateness, insufficient task frustration and the lack of validity of Maslow‘s hypothesis.

The Motivational Adjective Checklist (MACL) (Sciortino, 1963) which yields two factor scores "striving" and "assertive", was used as a paper and pencil measure of motivation. It was found that the secure group obtained higher assertive and striving scores than did the insecure group, suggesting construct validity of the MACL.

The results also indicated that members of the dominant group obtained higher assertive scores, but there were no differences on striving scores when compared to members of the submissive group. These results suggest that a higher assertive factor score reflects a more positive self-concept.


Scanned, with permission from the author, from the original print version, which resides in University Archives.


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