Experiences and impact of moral injury in U.K. veterinary professional wellbeing.
Williamson V., Murphy D., Greenberg N.
Background: Veterinary professionals (VPs) are often exposed to distressing and ethically challenging events in their line of work, yet little is known about whether they may experience moral injury and the impact potentially morally injurious events (PMIEs) may have on their wellbeing. This cross-sectional study aimed to examine the association between PMIEs and the mental health outcomes of U.K. VPs. Method: Assessments of PMIE exposure and self-report measures of common mental disorders were administered using an anonymous online questionnaire to 90 U.K. VPs between December 2020 and May 2021. Results: Exposure to PMIEs was reported by almost all VPs (89.0%), with acts of omission most frequently reported. Experiences of PMIEs were significantly associated with symptoms of PTSD (p 0.05). Conclusions: This study provides some of the first evidence that experiences of moral injury are significantly associated with adverse mental health outcomes in U.K. VPs. Future work is needed to design effective pathways for prevention and intervention for VPs exposed to highly challenging events. HIGHLIGHTS: U.K. veterinary professionals were found to experience moral injury.Experiences of moral injury were significantly associated with symptoms of PTSD.