Effects of Resilience Strength Training on Constructs Associated with Moral Injury among Veterans

December, 2020

This study explores the effectiveness of Resilience Strength Training (RST) on addressing problems specific to moral injury. A sample of  97 US veterans took part in the study. Participants reported significant improvements in factors specific to moral injury as well as a decrease in alcohol and sleep medication dependency.


Resilience Strength Training (RST) is a peer specialist program that incorporates a military squad model of group trust and bonding to address problems specific to moral injury (typically involving collapse of meaning or faith, loss of trust, self-isolation, and the failure of relationships). The training program was offered to 97 male and female veterans (ages 24–73) at two Volunteers of America (VOA) affiliates. The veterans completed measures related to moral injury prior to RST training, immediately upon completion, and 6 months after the training. RST significantly improved their reported post-traumatic growth, perceived meaning in life, propensity to trust, dispositional optimism, positive attitudes toward themselves, personal self-esteem, and sleep quality, while decreasing their dependence on both alcohol and sleep medications. These improvements were more pronounced immediately after RST but remained significant on most measures 6 months after training had ended. The results are interpreted as supportive of RST as a vehicle for addressing moral injury in veterans through development of self-calming strategies, communication skills, and self-esteem, as well as development of a peer-supported community with shared experiences.

Full Reference

Barth, T. M., Lord, C. G., Thakkar, V. J., & Brock, R. N. (2020). Effects of Resilience Strength Training on Constructs Associated with Moral Injury among Veterans. Journal of Veterans Studies, 6(2), 101–113. DOI:

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