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Moral distress measurement in animal care workers: a systematic review


Baysal, Yigit; Goy, Nastassja; Hartnack, Sonja; Guseva Canu, Irina (2024). Moral distress measurement in animal care workers: a systematic review. BMJ Open, 14(4):e082235.

Abstract

Objectives: The mental health of veterinary and other animal health professionals is significantly impacted by the psychological stressors they encounter, such as euthanasia, witnessing animal suffering and moral distress. Moral distress, initially identified in nursing, arises when individuals are aware of the right action but are hindered by institutional constraints. We aimed to review existing research on moral distress scales among animal care workers by focusing on the identification and psychometric validity of its measurement.DesignTwo-step systematic review. First, we identified all moral distress scales used in animal care research in the eligible original studies. Second, we evaluated their psychometric validity, emphasizing content validity, which is a critical aspect of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs). This evaluation adhered to the Consensus-based Standards for the Selection of Health Measurement Instruments (COSMIN). The results were reported according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. Data sources PubMed, EMBASE and PsycINFO to search for eligible studies published between January 1984 and April 2023. Eligibility criteria for selecting studies. We included original (primary) studies that (1) were conducted in animal care workers; (2) describing either the development of a moral distress scale, or validation of a moral distress scale in its original or modified version, to assess at least one of the psychometric properties mentioned in COSMIN guidelines. Data extraction and synthesisTwo independent reviewers used standardised methods to search, screen and code included studies. We considered the following information relevant for extraction: study reference, name and reference of the moral distress scale used, psychometric properties assessed and methods and results of their assessments. The collected information was then summarised in a narrative synthesis.ResultsThe review identified only one PROM specifically adapted for veterinary contexts: the Measure of Moral Distress for Animal Professionals (MMD-AP), derived from the Measure of Moral Distress for Healthcare Professionals (MMD-HP). Both MMD-HP and MMD-AP were evaluated for the quality of development and content validity. The development quality of both measures was deemed doubtful. According to COSMIN, MMD-HP’s content validity was rated as sufficient, whereas MMD-AP’s was inconsistent. However, the evidence quality for both PROMs was rated low.ConclusionThis is the first systematic review focused on moral distress measurement in animal care workers. It shows that moral distress is rarely measured using standardised and evidence-based methods and that such methods should be developed and validated in the context of animal care.PROSPERO registration numberCRD42023422259.

Abstract

Objectives: The mental health of veterinary and other animal health professionals is significantly impacted by the psychological stressors they encounter, such as euthanasia, witnessing animal suffering and moral distress. Moral distress, initially identified in nursing, arises when individuals are aware of the right action but are hindered by institutional constraints. We aimed to review existing research on moral distress scales among animal care workers by focusing on the identification and psychometric validity of its measurement.DesignTwo-step systematic review. First, we identified all moral distress scales used in animal care research in the eligible original studies. Second, we evaluated their psychometric validity, emphasizing content validity, which is a critical aspect of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs). This evaluation adhered to the Consensus-based Standards for the Selection of Health Measurement Instruments (COSMIN). The results were reported according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. Data sources PubMed, EMBASE and PsycINFO to search for eligible studies published between January 1984 and April 2023. Eligibility criteria for selecting studies. We included original (primary) studies that (1) were conducted in animal care workers; (2) describing either the development of a moral distress scale, or validation of a moral distress scale in its original or modified version, to assess at least one of the psychometric properties mentioned in COSMIN guidelines. Data extraction and synthesisTwo independent reviewers used standardised methods to search, screen and code included studies. We considered the following information relevant for extraction: study reference, name and reference of the moral distress scale used, psychometric properties assessed and methods and results of their assessments. The collected information was then summarised in a narrative synthesis.ResultsThe review identified only one PROM specifically adapted for veterinary contexts: the Measure of Moral Distress for Animal Professionals (MMD-AP), derived from the Measure of Moral Distress for Healthcare Professionals (MMD-HP). Both MMD-HP and MMD-AP were evaluated for the quality of development and content validity. The development quality of both measures was deemed doubtful. According to COSMIN, MMD-HP’s content validity was rated as sufficient, whereas MMD-AP’s was inconsistent. However, the evidence quality for both PROMs was rated low.ConclusionThis is the first systematic review focused on moral distress measurement in animal care workers. It shows that moral distress is rarely measured using standardised and evidence-based methods and that such methods should be developed and validated in the context of animal care.PROSPERO registration numberCRD42023422259.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinärwissenschaftliches Institut > Chair in Veterinary Epidemiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
570 Life sciences; biology
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > General Medicine
Language:English
Date:1 April 2024
Deposited On:23 May 2024 17:21
Last Modified:30 Jun 2024 01:41
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN:2044-6055
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2023-082235
PubMed ID:38643012
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)