Moral Injury in the Wake of Coronavirus: Attending to the Psychological Impact of the Pandemic

Psychol Trauma. 2020 Jun 25. doi: 10.1037/tra0000780. Online ahead of print.


Moral injury is a helpful lens through which we can better understand and prepare for the downstream psychosocial impact faced by health care providers during the coronavirus pandemic. Moral injury is psychological weight caused by a transgression of one's own or shared morals and values and can manifest as guilt, shame, inability to self-forgive, demoralization, and, in the worst case, self-harming behaviors. Given the morally challenging and life-threatening decisions our health care workers need to make daily in the face of consistent and ongoing death and loss, it is important to prepare for moral injury and the psychological toll by offering psychological support early and as often as needed at both the personal and institutional level. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).