Show Summary Details
Page of

Moral Distress: Context, Sources, and Consequences 

Moral Distress: Context, Sources, and Consequences
Moral Distress: Context, Sources, and Consequences

Alisa Carse

and Cynda Hylton Rushton

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 06 March 2021

Moral distress, a response to moral adversity that imperils integrity under conditions of constraint, has been studied for more than three decades. The context of clinical practice, the complexities of healthcare, clinicians’ roles, and broader society, alongside exponential advances in technology and treatment, create circumstances that regularly imperil integrity. These circumstances create the conditions for burnout, disengagement, and imperiled patient care. Specifically, they foster powerlessness, frustration, anger, diminished moral responsiveness, disillusionment, and shame. The cumulative dynamic of moral distress results in myriad detrimental consequences affecting the bodies, emotions, minds, and souls of clinicians. Transforming these experiences requires a shift in orientation toward restoring and preserving integrity by cultivating capacities of moral resilience and strategies to foster systemic ethical practice.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.