Summary: The state or condition of being a human individual accorded moral and/or legal rights. Criteria to be used to determine this status are subject to debate, and range from the requirement of simply being a human organism to such requirements as that the individual be self-aware and capable of rational thought and moral agency.

Top Publications

  1. Charles J. Lebensunwertes Leben: the devolution of personhood in the Weimar and pre-Weimar era. Ethics Med. 2005;21:41-54 pubmed
  2. Ostlund U, Brown H, Johnston B. Dignity conserving care at end-of-life: a narrative review. Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2012;16:353-67 pubmed publisher
    ..The intention is to provide more valid evidence for the effectiveness of the care actions suggested. ..
  3. McKeown J, Clarke A, Ingleton C, Ryan T, Repper J. The use of life story work with people with dementia to enhance person-centred care. Int J Older People Nurs. 2010;5:148-58 pubmed publisher enable care staff to see the person behind the patient; allow family carers to uphold their relatives' personhood; enable the voice of the person with dementia to be heard, verbally and non-verbally; be enjoyable for all ..
  4. Jakobsen R, Sørlie V. Dignity of older people in a nursing home: narratives of care providers. Nurs Ethics. 2010;17:289-300 pubmed publisher
    ..It is possible to understand their experiences in terms of Habermas's theory of modern society and the concept of the system's colonization of the life world. ..
  5. Murray L, Boyd S. Protecting personhood and achieving quality of life for older adults with dementia in the U.S. health care system. J Aging Health. 2009;21:350-73 pubmed publisher
    ..This article examines the health disparities among older adults with dementia, emphasizing the protection of personhood and quality of life, along with a review of the barriers to health care access and utilization of persons living ..
  6. Stretton D. Essential properties and the right to life: a response to Lee. Bioethics. 2004;18:264-82 pubmed
    ..I argue that his criticisms of this alternative view are misguided or self-defeating, and that there are good reasons to hold we have a right to life accidentally rather than essentially. ..
  7. Sharp L. The commodification of the body and its parts. Annu Rev Anthropol. 2000;29:287-328 pubmed
    ..The article concludes with suggestions for an integrated theoretical vision, advocating greater cross-fertilization of analytical approaches and the inclusion of an ethics of body commodification within anthropology. ..
  8. Malloy D, Hadjistavropoulos T. The problem of pain management among persons with dementia, personhood, and the ontology of relationships. Nurs Philos. 2004;5:147-59 pubmed
    ..We argue that the philosophical notion of personhood must also be given careful attention when considering the problem of pain undermanagement...
  9. Kontos P, Naglie G. Expressions of personhood in Alzheimer's disease: an evaluation of research-based theatre as a pedagogical tool. Qual Health Res. 2007;17:799-811 pubmed
    ..With an interest in this aesthetic practice, the authors transformed ethnographic research on personhood in Alzheimer's disease into a dramatic production, Expressions of Personhood in Alzheimer's , which was ..

More Information


  1. Lee P. The pro-life argument from substantial identity: a defence. Bioethics. 2004;18:249-63 pubmed
  2. McKeown J, Clarke A, Repper J. Life story work in health and social care: systematic literature review. J Adv Nurs. 2006;55:237-47 pubmed
    ..Although appraising literature from a range of approaches is complex, there are some potentially far-reaching benefits of life story work in health and social care practice. ..
  3. Sagoff M. Extracorporeal embryos and three conceptions of the human. Am J Bioeth. 2005;5:52-4; discussion W14-6 pubmed
  4. Gómez Lobo A. On potentiality and respect for embryos: a reply to Mary Mahowald. Theor Med Bioeth. 2005;26:105-10; discussion 111-3 pubmed
    ..It follows that they are already persons essentially. ..
  5. Eberl J. Aquinas's account of human embryogenesis and recent interpretations. J Med Philos. 2005;30:379-94 pubmed
    ..In this article, I discuss two recent interpretations in which it is argued that a human person does not begin to exist until a fetus has developed a functioning cerebral cortex. ..
  6. Porter L. Abortion, infanticide and moral context. J Med Ethics. 2013;39:350-2 pubmed publisher
    ..However, a similar conclusion does follow-that fetus-killing and newborn-killing are morally identical in identical moral contexts-but this conclusion is trivial, since fetuses and newborns are never in identical moral contexts. ..
  7. Besirević V. End-of-life care in the 21st century: advance directives in universal rights discourse. Bioethics. 2010;24:105-12 pubmed publisher
  8. ter Meulen R, Maarse H. Increasing individual responsibility in Dutch health care: is solidarity losing ground?. J Med Philos. 2008;33:262-79 pubmed publisher
  9. Johansson J. The time of death's badness. J Med Philos. 2012;37:464-79 pubmed publisher
    ..Moreover, I argue that if it is nonetheless insisted that we must find a time at which my death is bad for me, we can appeal to periods that begin before my death and end after my death. I end with some implications for posthumous harm. ..
  10. Venn S, Arber S. Understanding older peoples' decisions about the use of sleeping medication: issues of control and autonomy. Sociol Health Illn. 2012;34:1215-29 pubmed publisher
  11. Hoffman S. The immunologic self. Perspect Biol Med. 2012;55:350-61 pubmed publisher
    ..It concludes that we must move away from a simplistic, exclusively inward or mentalistic conception of the self. ..
  12. Hedberg C, Lynøe N. What is meant by patient-centredness being value-based?. Scand J Prim Health Care. 2013;31:188-9 pubmed publisher
    ..In this sense, patient-centredness might be considered value-based. Future research might shed light on what is actually respected: is it the patient's autonomy, integrity, dignity, or honour? ..
  13. Béhague D. The domains of psychiatric practice: from centre to periphery. Cult Med Psychiatry. 2008;32:140-51 pubmed publisher
  14. García J. [Principialistic and personalistic bioethics. Some perspectives]. Cuad Bioet. 2013;24:67-76 pubmed
    ..So, the criteria that will guide us in deciding on biomedical practice will become clearer. ..
  15. Wilkins S. Strange Bedfellows? Common Ground on the Moral Status Question. J Med Philos. 2016;41:130-47 pubmed publisher
    ..The crucial finding is that all the attempts to answer the question that involve substance ontology need to appeal to dispositions. ..
  16. Rocchi B. Why should the baby live? Human right to life and the precautionary principle. J Med Ethics. 2013;39:e6-e10 pubmed publisher
    ..Finally, an alternative moral strategy based on the precautionary principle and excluding any distinction between potential and actual persons is proposed as rational. ..
  17. Logan K. Toilet privacy in hospital. Nurs Times. 2012;108:12-3 pubmed
    ..This article reports on an audit that highlighted the issues important to patients and nurses in terms of improving privacy and dignity for inpatients using the toilet. ..
  18. Bello B. Dignity and informed consent in the treatment of mature minors. J Int Bioethique. 2010;21:103-22, 164-5 pubmed
  19. Söderberg S, Olsson M, Skär L. A hidden kind of suffering: female patient's complaints to Patient's Advisory Committee. Scand J Caring Sci. 2012;26:144-50 pubmed publisher
  20. Pereira Menaut A, Pereira Sáez C. [Human dignity revisited]. Cuad Bioet. 2014;25:231-42 pubmed
  21. Lee R. Family homelessness viewed through the lens of health and human rights. ANS Adv Nurs Sci. 2012;35:E47-59 pubmed publisher
    ..Reflected in each mother's words and embedded within the 3 universal themes that emerged was the need to be treated with human dignity and respect. This need was seen as vital to the health and well being of these families. ..
  22. Cheraghi M, Manookian A, Nasrabadi A. Human dignity in religion-embedded cross-cultural nursing. Nurs Ethics. 2014;21:916-28 pubmed publisher
    ..The findings support and expand current understanding about the objective and subjective nature of dignity preservation in cross-cultural nursing. ..
  23. Fyson R, Cromby J. Human rights and intellectual disabilities in an era of 'choice'. J Intellect Disabil Res. 2013;57:1164-72 pubmed publisher
    ..The analysis results in an argument that current conceptualisations of personhood in relation to human rights exclude people with ID...
  24. Jones D. The "special status" of the human embryo in the United Kingdom: an exploration of the use of language in public policy. Hum Reprod Genet Ethics. 2011;17:66-83 pubmed
    ..This "emotivist" account is highly problematic, not so much for its attitude to the embryo as for its subversion of public moral reasoning. ..
  25. Malek J. Use or refuse reproductive genetic technologies: which would a 'good parent' do?. Bioethics. 2013;27:59-64 pubmed publisher
    ..Further, by working to change some of a child's specific traits, a parent may instead exemplify an aspirational aspect of praiseworthy parenting and so demonstrate appropriate parental attitudes. ..
  26. Gülpinar M, Akman M, User I. A course, 'The Human in Medicine', as an example of a preclinical medical humanities program: a summary of 7 years. Med Teach. 2009;31:e469-76 pubmed publisher
  27. Peterson R. The persistence of low expectations in special education law viewed through the lens of therapeutic jurisprudence. Int J Law Psychiatry. 2010;33:375-97 pubmed publisher
  28. Sagbakken M, Frich J, Bjune G, Porter J. Ethical aspects of directly observed treatment for tuberculosis: a cross-cultural comparison. BMC Med Ethics. 2013;14:25 pubmed publisher
  29. Kabel A. The Snog and Grog Club: social personhood in hospice care. Qual Health Res. 2013;23:147-55 pubmed publisher
    ..suggest that hospice day care staff members used several strategies to help patients cope and retain a sense of personhood while facing numerous emotional and physical challenges associated with life-threatening illness...
  30. Koksvik G. Silent subjects, loud diseases: Enactment of personhood in intensive care. Health (London). 2016;20:127-42 pubmed publisher
    The topic of this article is personhood in the case of verbally inexpressive, typically unconscious patients or patients with a low level of lucidity...
  31. Sagar R, Prakash S. Dignity & first aid in mental health. Indian J Med Res. 2016;144:496-498 pubmed publisher
  32. Raikos A, Paraskevas G, Tzika M, Kordali P, Tsafka Tsotskou F, Natsis K. Human body exhibitions: public opinion of young individuals and contemporary bioethics. Surg Radiol Anat. 2012;34:433-40 pubmed publisher
    ..This could be effected by certified anatomy demonstrators in graduated steps according to the cohort's age, education, occupation, and health status. ..
  33. Murphy T. Dignity, marriage and embryo adoption: a look at Dignitas Personae. Reprod Biomed Online. 2011;23:860-8 pubmed publisher
  34. Zwart H. Genomics and identity: the bioinformatisation of human life. Med Health Care Philos. 2009;12:125-36 pubmed publisher
    ..Genomics-based technologies will increasingly pervade our daily lives, our autobiographies and narratives, as well as our anthropologies, rather than our genomes as such. ..
  35. Bracegirdle L. Ensuring patient choices about dignity and place of death are respected at the end of life. Nurs Times. 2010;106:22-4 pubmed
    ..It examines some of the dilemmas nurses may face in respecting patients' preferences about place of care and death, and looks at how services may need to change in the future to meet the needs of the increasing ageing population. ..
  36. Radojcic N. Building a Dignified Identity: An Ethnographic Case Study of LGBT Catholics. J Homosex. 2016;63:1297-313 pubmed publisher
  37. Montaner Abasolo M, Soler Company E. [Relationship health care professional-patient from personalistic perspective. To know how to communicate is like ethical imperative]. Cuad Bioet. 2012;23:631-9 pubmed
    ..A personalized perspective, open to transcendence, is especially suitable in the health field, where communication must take into account the complex reality that the patient is living. ..
  38. Nieminen P, Lappalainen S, Ristimäki P, Myllykangas M, Mustonen A. Opinions on conscientious objection to induced abortion among Finnish medical and nursing students and professionals. BMC Med Ethics. 2015;16:17 pubmed publisher
    ..The issue proved to be complex, which should be taken into consideration for legislation. ..
  39. Periyakoil V, Stevens M, Kraemer H. Multicultural long-term care nurses’ perceptions of factors influencing patient dignity at the end of life. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2013;61:440-6 pubmed
    ..In contrast, dying LTC residents felt that poor medical care and loss of ability to choose care options were the most important factors leading to erosion of dignity. ..
  40. Pastor L. [Ethical analysis and commentary of Dignitas Personae document: from continuity toward the innovation]. Cuad Bioet. 2011;22:25-46 pubmed
    ..Finally, the document reaffirms the commitment of the Catholic Church to the poor of our techno-scientific society, the proletariat of the new century: human embryos. ..
  41. Kurokawa H, Yabuwaki K, Kobayashi R. Factor structure of "personhood" for elderly healthcare services: a questionnaire survey of long-term care facilities in Japan. Disabil Rehabil. 2013;35:551-6 pubmed publisher
    The purpose of this study was to develop the Personhood Questionnaire (PQ) to determine the factor structure of "personhood" for elderly healthcare services and identify personhood components other than PQ items...
  42. Nicholson C, Flatley M, Wilkinson C. Everybody matters 3: engaging patients and relatives in decision making to promote dignity. Nurs Times. 2010;106:10-2 pubmed
    ..This recognises the importance of engaging patients, family and staff in decisions about care and treatment. The article offers a range of interventions to hear the voices of patients, staff and relatives. ..
  43. Manthorpe J, Iliffe S, Samsi K, Cole L, Goodman C, Drennan V, et al. Dementia, dignity and quality of life: nursing practice and its dilemmas. Int J Older People Nurs. 2010;5:235-44 pubmed publisher
    ..These need to be acknowledged in any debates about objective and subjective definitions of quality of life. ..
  44. Callahan D. Europe and the United States: contrast and convergence. J Med Philos. 2008;33:280-93 pubmed publisher
    ..But the latter systems are increasingly open to market ideas and practices while the US is steadily being pushed toward a stronger government role. This article offers some speculation about their gradual convergence in the years ahead. ..
  45. DiSilvestro R. Reproductive autonomy, the non-identity problem, and the non-person problem. Bioethics. 2009;23:59-67 pubmed publisher
    ..Any solution to the Non-Identity Problem that focuses on wronging rather than harming should incorporate this sort of solution to the Non-Person Problem. ..
  46. Sekaleshfar F. Reinterpreting the 'quickening' perspective in the abortion debate. Theor Med Bioeth. 2009;30:161-71 pubmed publisher
    b>Personhood constitutes the pivotal point in the abortion debate. There exists a diversity of views as to when foetal personhood actually starts-from conception and implantation to viability and even birth...
  47. Hammond J. Genetic engineering to avoid genetic neglect: from chance to responsibility. Bioethics. 2010;24:160-9 pubmed
    ..My particular focus is on prenatal interventions and their impact of the bodily integrity of expectant mothers. I conclude that although bodily integrity constrains moral obligations, it is outweighed in a range of cases. ..
  48. Buse K, Hawkes S. Health post-2015: evidence and power. Lancet. 2014;383:678-9 pubmed publisher
  49. Hart S, Lee Y, Wernham M. A new age for child protection--General Comment 13: why it is important, how it was constructed, and what it intends?. Child Abuse Negl. 2011;35:970-8 pubmed publisher
    ..A child rights-based, comprehensive coordinating framework is recommended for the implementation of GC13. ..
  50. Forouzan A, Ghazinour M, Dejman M, Rafeiey H, San Sebastian M. Testing the WHO responsiveness concept in the Iranian mental healthcare system: a qualitative study of service users. BMC Health Serv Res. 2011;11:325 pubmed publisher
    ..These findings might help policy-makers' better understanding of what is useful for the improvement of mental health services. ..
  51. Collins L, Crockin S. Fighting 'personhood' initiatives in the United States. Reprod Biomed Online. 2012;24:689-91 pubmed publisher
    b>Personhood' initiatives filed in many states within the United States threaten to impose potentially significant restrictions on infertility treatment, embryo disposition, pre-natal care, abortion, contraception, and stem-cell research, ..
  52. Ramadan T. The challenges and future of applied Islamic ethics discourse: a radical reform?. Theor Med Bioeth. 2013;34:105-15 pubmed publisher
  53. Lebacqz K. Stumbling on status: abortion, stem cells, and faulty reasoning. Theor Med Bioeth. 2012;33:75-82 pubmed publisher
    ..Stem cell research differs from abortion in morally relevant ways and should be freed from the abortion debate and its flawed reasoning. ..