Seeking Canadian health care workers for study on moral distress during COVID-19 pandemic

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 62, No. 7, September 2020, Page 251 News COVID-19

A team from Lawson Health Research Institute is seeking 500 Canadian health care workers to participate in a study on moral distress and psychological well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants will complete online surveys once every 3 months for a total of 18 months. The goal is to better understand the pandemic’s impact on health care workers in order to minimize moral distress and support well-being during future pandemic events.

Moral distress is a form of psychological distress that occurs following an event that conflicts with a person’s moral values or standards. Through previous research with military populations, moral distress has been linked to an increased risk of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.

Participating health care workers will answer questions about moral-ethical dilemmas and symptoms of depression, PTSD, general anxiety, and burnout.

The team hopes that results can be used to cultivate wellness at the outset of future pandemics. This might include guiding emergency preparedness policies and moral-ethical decision-making training modules. They hope that by tracking psychological outcomes over time, they can identify early warning signs of distress that can be targeted with early interventions.

The researchers will also ask questions that explore how the pandemic is affecting health care delivery, such as increased reliance on virtual care appointments, and whether health care workers are satisfied with these changes.

This project is in partnership with the Centre of Excellence on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Related Mental Health Conditions. Learn more about the study and access the survey at

. Seeking Canadian health care workers for study on moral distress during COVID-19 pandemic. BCMJ, Vol. 62, No. 7, September, 2020, Page(s) 251 - News, COVID-19.

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