Moral Injury in Health Care: Identification and Repair in the COVID-19 Era

J Gen Intern Med. 2022 Nov;37(14):3739-3743. doi: 10.1007/s11606-022-07761-5. Epub 2022 Aug 15.


Frontline health-care workers experienced moral injury long before COVID-19, but the pandemic highlighted how pervasive and damaging this psychological harm can be. Moral injury occurs when individuals violate or witness violations of deeply held values and beliefs. We argue that a continuum exists between moral distress, moral injury, and burnout. Distinguishing these experiences highlights opportunities for intervention and moral repair, and may thwart progression to burnout.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Burnout, Professional* / psychology
  • COVID-19*
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Health Personnel / psychology
  • Humans
  • Morals
  • Pandemics
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic* / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic* / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic* / therapy