Publications Publication - Associations between psychosocial stressors at work and moral injury in frontline healthcare workers and leaders facing the COVID-19 pandemic in Quebec, Canada: A cross-sectional study


Une publication parue dans J Psychiatr Res2022 Nov;155:269-278, soutenue par l'axe Santé mentale des populations suite au concours de soutien aux publications 2021-2022. Félicitations à Azita Zahiriharsini et collègues.


Azita ZahiriharsiniMahée Gilbert-OuimetLyse LangloisCaroline BironJérôme PelletierMarianne BeaulieuManon Truchon


Healthcare workers (HCWs) on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic exhibit a high prevalence of depression and psychological distress. Moral injury (MI) can lead to such mental health problems. MI occurs when perpetrating, failing to prevent, or bearing witness to acts that transgress deeply held moral beliefs and expectations. Since the start of the pandemic, psychosocial stressors at work (PSWs) might have been exacerbated, which might in turn have led to an increased risk of MI in HCWs. However, research into the associations between PSWs and MI is lacking. Considering these stressors are frequent and most of them are modifiable occupational risk factors, they may constitute promising prevention targets. This study aims to evaluate the associations between a set of PSWs and MI in HCWs during the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Quebec, Canada. Furthermore, our study aims to explore potential differences between urban and non-urban regions. The sample of this study consisted of 572 HCWs and leaders from the Quebec province. Prevalence ratios (PR) of MI and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) were modelled using robust Poisson regressions. Several covariates were considered, including age, sex, gender, socio-economic indicators, and lifestyle factors. Results indicated HCWs exposed to PSWs were 2.22-5.58 times more likely to experience MI. Low ethical culture had the strongest association (PR: 5.58, 95% CI: 1.34-23.27), followed by low reward (PR: 4.43, 95% CI: 2.14-9.16) and high emotional demands (PR: 4.32, 95% CI: 1.89-9.88). Identifying predictors of MI could contribute to the reduction of mental health problems and the implementation of targeted interventions in urban and non-urban areas.