Moral distress, or the inability to act congruent with moral beliefs, has been of concern for healthcare professionals especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospital nurses are particularly affected in their roles with mounting administrative pressures and demands. We examined whether general and COVID-specific support in employing healthcare organizations predicted moral distress in a sample of inpatient hospital nurses. A total of 248 nurses completed the Measure of Moral Distress for Healthcare Professionals, Survey of Perceived Organizational Support, COVID Organizational Support survey, and the Hospital Ethical Climate Scale. We found that general and COVID-related organizational support were predictors of moral distress after controlling for age, gender, working in an intensive care unit setting, and ethical climate. Findings support the need for a comprehensive strategy to address moral distress, including institutional efforts to convey support and commitment. Strategies moral distress may be experienced differently based on gender identity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-292
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Health Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • COVID-19
  • healthcare professionals
  • healthcare system
  • moral distress
  • organizational support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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