Compromised Conscience: A Scoping Review of Moral Injury Among Firefighters, Paramedics, and Police Officers

Lentz, Liana
Smith-MacDonald, Lorraine
Malloy, David
Carleton, R. Nicholas
Brémault-Phillips, Suzette
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Frontiers Media

Background: Public Safety Personnel (e.g., firefighters, paramedics, and police officers) are routinely exposed to human suffering and need to make quick, morally challenging decisions. Such decisions can affect their psychological wellbeing. Participating in or observing an event or situation that conflicts with personal values can potentially lead to the development of moral injury. Common stressors associated with moral injury include betrayal, inability to prevent death or harm, and ethical dilemmas. Potentially psychologically traumatic event exposures and post-traumatic stress disorder can be comorbid with moral injury; however, moral injury extends beyond fear to include spiritual, cognitive, emotional or existential struggles, which can produce feelings of severe shame, guilt, and anger.

Copyright © 2021 Lentz, Smith-MacDonald, Malloy, Carleton and Brémault-Phillips. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
. Lentz, L. M., Smith-MacDonald, L., Malloy, D., Bremault-Phillips, S., Carleton, R. N. (in press). Compromised Conscience: A scoping review of moral injury among firefighters, paramedics, and police officers. Frontiers in Psychology: Organizational Psychology, 31.