Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Family Consumer Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Joan R. McFadden


Joan R. McFadden


Few things occupy as central a place in our lives as money. Although the study of money has a long history in the behavioral sciences, others have only recently begun examining this important topic. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between basic human need levels and money attitudes in a university-age cohort utilizing a theory of hierarchical needs. Needs theory, introduced by Abraham Maslow, suggests that as we interact with the environment we accumulate specific needs that motivate us to respond to life experiences.

Three hundred thirty-eight college students attending Utah State University satellite campuses responded to a measure designed to examine an individual's attitudes toward money and achievement of needs (Maslow). Pilot study results validated the selection of modified versions of both Lim and Teo's Attitudes Toward Money Scale and Lester's Need Satisfaction Inventory as reliable instruments in assessing money attitudes and need achievement.

Results confirmed relationships between money attitudes and human needs. Specifically, all of Maslow's needs appear to be strongly related to the money attitudes of evaluation and anxiety. In addition, men's and women's needs are highly correlated with obsession, budget, anxiety, and particularly evaluation. Associations of money attitudes with demographic variables such as gender, age, and income were also supported. For example, gender was statistically related to money attitudes of obsession, power, budget, and achievement. Age shared a strong relationship with obsession, budget, anxiety, and retention. Finally, power and evaluation were the money attitudes explaining the bulk of the variance in income.

The findings of the study support the literature and point to the importance of understanding a client's money attitudes and level of need satisfaction. particularly from a counseling standpoint. Implications of the results and possible areas for future research are discussed.