Moral distress and occupational wellbeing in audiologists: An Australian case study

Andrea Simpson, Alana M. Short, Alicja N. Malicka, Sandy Clarke-Errey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess if a relationship existed between (i) audiologists’ perceptions of moral distress, (ii) occupational wellbeing, and (iii) patient-practitioner orientation. 

Design: The Moral Distress Thermometer, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Management Standards Indicator Tool and Patient-Practitioner Orientation Scale (PPOS) was sent out to all audiologists registered with the professional body Audiology Australia. Study sample: A total of 43 audiologists completed the questionnaires. 

Results: Using a multiple linear regression model there was no evidence of a relationship between patient-practitioner orientation and either moral distress or occupational wellbeing. However, an association between higher moral distress and lower occupational wellbeing was demonstrated. The occupational wellbeing subscales of ‘managerial support’, ‘peer support’, ‘relationships’, ‘role’, and ‘change’ were strongly associated with poorer scores on moral distress. 

Conclusion: For our sample of audiologists, ethical conflict appeared to be linked to reduced job satisfaction. There is a need to consider ways of providing supportive organisational structures in which ethical conflicts can be openly discussed and negotiated in order to improve occupational wellbeing in the profession.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-113
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Ethics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


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