Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 365–372 | Cite as

Dignity Promotion and Beneficence



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 



The authors thank Vanessa Oliver and Andrew Koch, who helped to plan and conduct this study, and all of the participants who agreed to be interviewed.

Funding Support

This research was supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. In addition, support to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health for salary of scientists and infrastructure has been provided by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Health Systems Research and Consulting UnitCentre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Joint Centre for BioethicsUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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