Moral Injury and Psycho-Spiritual Development: Considering the Developmental Context

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Abstract

Research on military mental health has recently begun to explore the construct of “moral injury,” the mental health sequelae of real or perceived violations of deeply held values or beliefs. Moral injury may be a distinctive dimension of combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder and related problems and is therefore critical to understand and attend to. This article considers moral injury from the perspective of psycho-spiritual development, with an emphasis on the interplay of cognitive, social, and faith group culture dimensions to contextualize the construct of moral injury within a theoretical framework. We present a case study to illustrate the utility of this psycho-spiritual framework to understand and treat moral injury. Implications for clinical interventions and suggested directions for future research conclude the article.

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