Special Issue "Moral Distress and Mental Health among Healthcare Professionals"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Mental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Giulia Lamiani
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Health Sciences, University of Milan, 20142 Milan, Italy
Interests: clinical psychology; moral distress; intensive care; health psychology
Dr. Lidia Borghi
E-Mail Website
Assistant Guest Editor
Department of Health Sciences, University of Milan, 20142 Milan, Italy
Interests: clinical psychology; health psychology; healthcare communication; moral distress
Dr. Marina Maffoni
E-Mail Website
Assistant Guest Editor
Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri, IRCCS, Psychology Unit of Montescano Institute, 27040 Montescano, Italy
Interests: qualitative and mixed-methods research; healthcare professionals’ distress and well-being, moral distress; psychosocial risk factors; medication and behavioural adherence; clinical psychology; health psychology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Moral distress is a frequent experience in the healthcare landscape. Moral distress was defined by Jameton (1984) as the painful feeling that occurs when clinicians cannot carry out what they believe to be appropriate because of personal or institutional constraints. Since this definition, the concept of moral distress has been theoretically refined and scales have been developed to measure it among nurses and other healthcare professionals. Research showed that moral distress has a profound impact on the individual and organizational well-being, affecting job satisfaction and retention and leading to depression and depersonalization. The suffering caused by moral distress has become more evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, where many clinicians have found themselves need to provide care in a context of limited resources. However, evidence is needed to better comprehend the relationship between moral distress and mental health outcomes among healthcare professionals. As moral distress may lead to positive behavioral and organizational changes if it is recognized and respected, the search protective factors for organizations and individuals should be promoted. Finally, as moral distress is becoming an emerging issue during the COVID-19 pandemic, new evidence is needed to design effective interventions to counteract it. In this Special Issue, we invite authors to contribute research exploring the links between moral distress and mental health, and on the factors and interventions that can address this phenomenon. New research papers, reviews, and case reports are welcome to this Issue. Papers reporting new approaches to assess and address moral distress are also welcome.

Dr. Giulia Lamiani
Guest Editor
Dr. Lidia Borghi
Dr. Marina Maffoni
Assistant Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • moral distress
  • resilience
  • occupational well-being
  • nursing
  • critical care medicine
  • clinical psychology
  • COVID-19
  • bioethics
  • risk and protective factors

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: From ethical climate to moral distress through the mediation of negative affectivity in a sample of Portuguese palliative care professionals
Authors: Francisca Rego, Marina Maffoni, Valentina Sommovigo, Anna Giardini, Ilaria Setti
Affiliation: Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri, IRCCS, Psychology Unit of Montescano Institute, Italy
Abstract: The modern healthcare landscape may pave the way to healthcare professionals’ moral distress that occurs when one cannot carry out what is believed to be appropriate because of different constraints. This condition specifically addresses palliative care professionals who are daily dealing with bioethical issues. Although some studies already reported the detrimental effects of poor ethical climate and negative affectivity, satisfactory explicative models analysing the association of these variables on moral distress still lack. Thus, this study aims to investigate whether ethical relationships within the hospital would be related to the intensity and the frequency of moral distress directly or indirectly, through negative affectivity. A total of sixty-one healthcare professionals working in Portuguese palliative care specialties took part in this web-based cross-sectional research. After exploring for descriptive statistics and intercorrelations, Partial Least Squares (PLS) structural equation modelling (SEM) were performed. Findings from mediation models indicated that the presence of ethical relationships within the hospital setting reduced professionals’ negative affectivity levels. This, in turn, led them to experience lower frequency and intensity of moral distress. The occupation of physician was positively and statistically significantly associated with negative affectivity, but not with the frequency of moral distress. Overall, these findings offer interesting managerial implications, recommending the implementation of interventions which may improve the ethical climate connected with relationships within the hospital. Indeed, this factor may reduce professionals’ negative affectivity and, in turn, their moral distress perceptions.

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