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Traumatology (Tallahass Fla). 2018 Dec;24(4):301-312. doi: 10.1037/trm0000158. Epub 2018 May 3.

Psychometric Properties of a Modified Moral Injury Questionnaire in a Military Population.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Old Dominion University.
2
Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology.
3
Community & Environmental Health, Old Dominion University.
4
Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, & Addictions, University of New Mexico.

Abstract

Moral injury (MI) results from perpetration of or exposure to distressing events, known as morally injurious events (MIEs), that challenge moral beliefs and values. Due to the type of involvement in recent military conflicts, many veterans report MIEs that may cause dissonance and, in turn, MI. Although two existing measures assess MIEs, neither currently assesses the defining characteristics of MI (i.e., guilt, shame, difficulty forgiving self and others, and withdrawal). The present study reports the initial psychometric test of a modified version (Robbins, Kelley, Hamrick, Bravo, & White, 2017) of the Moral Injury Questionnaire - Military version (MIQ-M; Currier, Holland, Drescher, & Foy, 2015) in a sample of 328 military personnel (e.g., veterans, National Guard/reservists, active duty members). The MIQ-M was modified to assess both MIEs and the defining characteristics of MI. Exploratory factor analyses suggested a three-factor model of MIEs consisting of Atrocities of war, Psychological consequences of war, and Leadership failure or betrayal. The modified MIQ-M factors were correlated with defining characteristics of MI. In addition, each MIE factor and associated defining characteristics of MI were positively correlated with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety, as well as substance use. The modified MIQ-M is a reliable measure of MI that is comprised of three subscales that are associated with, but distinct from, mental health outcomes. Although findings are promising, further research evaluating the applicability of the modified MIQ-M in clinical settings is required to establish construct validity of the defining characteristics and secondary manifestations of MI.

KEYWORDS:

combat; exploratory factor analysis; mental health; military; moral injury

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