Dignity: a novel path into the spiritual landscape of the human heart

Shane Sinclair and Harvey M. Chochinov

in Oxford Textbook of Spirituality in Healthcare

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199571390
Published online August 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199665037 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbook in Public Health

Dignity: a novel path into the spiritual landscape of the human heart

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  • Public Health and Epidemiology
  • Palliative Medicine


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While what constitutes dignity is individually determined, its centrality in the search for meaning and purpose, especially as it relates to various facets of health, is becoming increasingly apparent. Empirical research on the impact of dignity as it affects various aspects of human health has begun to demonstrate a strong reciprocal relationship between the construct of dignity and the domain of spirituality. Cassel posited that suffering has its source in challenges that threaten the intactness of the self, whether in the form of physical symptoms or psycho-spiritual distress. Whether in relation to suffering or health in general, the interrelated constructs of dignity and spirituality constitute an important salve, which can preserve the human spirit. The pathway to healing will depend upon ones spiritual orientation, and whether achieved through secular means or a connection with a high power or being, is a critical element of human health.

Chapter.  4853 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology ; Palliative Medicine

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