Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 365-372

First online:

Dignity Promotion and Beneficence

  • Nora JacobsonAffiliated withHealth Systems Research and Consulting Unit, Centre for Addiction and Mental HealthDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Toronto Email author 
  • , Diego S. SilvaAffiliated withDalla Lana School of Public Health, Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto

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The concept of dignity has occasioned a robust conversation in recent healthcare scholarship. When viewed as a whole, research on dignity in healthcare has engaged each of the four bioethical principles popularized by Beauchamp and Childress, but has paid the least attention to beneficence. In this paper, we look at dignity and beneficence. We focus on the dignity promotion component of a model of dignity derived from a grounded theory study. After describing the study and presenting a précis of the resulting model, we review the principle of beneficence and look at the ways in which the notion of dignity promotion can be used to complement our understanding of this principle. Specifically, we explore what we can learn from dignity promotion about the relational nature of beneficence in healthcare and how dignity promotion can be marshaled to help address the epistemological quandary of soft paternalism.


Dignity Beneficence Grounded theory