Personal power perceptions need satisfaction and self-esteem: Theory formation




McBryde, Merry J. Pummer

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Three problems were identified for a theory formation study of personal power perceptions, need satisfaction and self-esteem: (1) What is the validity and reliability of the following instruments: (a) the Motivation to Avoid Powerlessness Scale (MAPS) adapted from the Fear of Powerlessness Scale (Good, Good and Golden, 1973), and (b) the researcher developed Need Satisfaction Inventory (NSI)? (2) What are the clusterings of variables represented by items in the MAPS and the NSI? (3) What are the relationships among three variables in a theoretical formulation of social power: (a) motivation to avoid powerlessness, (b) need satisfaction and (c) self-esteem?

A correlational and methodological design was used to survey 185 community college, technical vocational students. Instruments included an information sheet, the Motivation to Avoid Powerlessness Scale, the Need Satisfaction Inventory, and Rosenberg's (1965) Self-esteem Scale.

Findings indicated both validity and reliability were adequate for the MAPS and the NSI instruments. Expert panel reviews reduced the MAPS and NSI to 16 and 28 items respectively. Cronbach's alpha of.89 and.90 were determined for the MAPS and NSI respectively. Item to total correlations for the MAPS ranges from.40 to.69 and from.34 to.57 for the NSI.

Factor analysis of the MAPS produced a three factor solution compatible with McClelland's (1965) trichotomy of human needs theory rather than factors identified by the researcher's theoretical formulation. A six factor solution for the NSI did not resemble Maslow's (1943, 1971) hierarchy of human needs. The correlations between the MAPS, NSI and SES were positive, moderate and significant (MAPS and NSI, r =.35, p >.01; NSI and SES, r =.37, r >.01; SES and MAPS, r =.43, p >.01). The SES factored into a two factor solution consistent with findings described by Kaplan and Polorney (1969) and Dietz (1990).

The research propositions received moderate support, inferring a basic correctness to the theoretical formulation. The MAPS and NSI received respectable levels of validity and reliability. However, the concepts of power, human needs, and self-esteem as derived from classic theory may not be consistent with current world views and need study using innovative research methodologies.



Nursing, Psychology, Perceptions, Self image, Health and environmental sciences