The sense of dignity at the end of life: reflections on lifetime values through the family photo album

Ines Testoni, Vera Baroni, Erika Iacona, Adriano Zamperini, Shoshi Keisari, Lucia Ronconi, Luigi Grassi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study focuses on the dimensions of dignity, linking Chochinov’s Dignity Therapy to Schwartz’s Theory of Values. The use of family photo albums has enriched the application of dignity therapy. Seven terminal patients in home-based palliative care participated in the therapeutic intervention. To measure the effects of the intervention, we administered the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale and the Patient Dignity Inventory, then, at the end of the meetings, collected the opinions of participants, available nurses, and relatives who attended the sessions. The resulting generativity documents were then analyzed through thematic analysis, which revealed three main themes linked to both fundamental values and the dimensions of dignity: The relationship between continuity of self and myriad values in the context of family relationships; personal dignity as characterized by the values of personal success, hope, and wisdom; and hope and generativity. The fourth theme reflected the participants’ final judgements on the intervention, which were highly positive and greatly encouraged further use of photographs in similar therapeutic interventions. The assessment protocol highlighted a significant decrease in tiredness amongst the participants and a trend towards a significant decrease in drowsiness after the intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0177
JournalBehavioral Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - 23 Nov 2020


  • Dignity therapy
  • End of life
  • Human values
  • Palliative care
  • PhotoTherapy

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Development
  • Genetics
  • Psychology(all)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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