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HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Patterns of exposure to potentially morally injurious events among Israeli combat veterans: A latent class analysis approach

February, 2021
Article:

This piece of research explores patterns of exposure to morally injurious events in Israeli veterans.

Abstract

Objective: Following exposure to events that transgress moral beliefs and expectations rooted in cultural, organizational, and group-based ethical rules, veterans can experience psychological, social, and spiritual problems referred to as Moral Injury (MI). We examined patterns of exposure to potentially morally injurious events (PMIEs) among Israeli veterans as well as psychological and functional correlates of exposure. Method: A sample of 381 Israeli veterans volunteered to complete a cross-sectional electronic survey between 2017-2018. Latent Class Analysis (LCA) was used to identify classes characterized by unique patterns of exposure to PMIEs and compare differences in psychological and functional problems. Results: Three subgroups were identified: Moral Injury (12.1 %), Betrayal-Only (20.8 %), and Minimal Exposure (67.1 %). Whereas those in the betrayal-only class reported more traditional posttraumatic symptoms and those in the moral injury class reported more moral injury symptoms (i.e., guilt-related cognitions), some psychological problems were shared by veterans assigned to the moral injury and betrayal-only classes (e.g., entrapment). Importantly, while both those in the betrayal-only and moral injury classes had lower forgiveness relative to those in the minimal exposure class, those in the betrayal-only class received more familial support than did those in the moral injury class. Conclusions: The study's findings offer an overview of the complex associations between patterns of exposure to PMIEs and associated outcomes. Clinicians treating veterans coping with combat trauma should be aware of the unique and shared symptoms reported by those with moral injury and betrayal exposures.

Full Reference

Zerach, G., Levi-Belz, Y., Griffin, B. J., & Maguen, S. (2021). Patterns of exposure to potentially morally injurious events among Israeli combat veterans: A latent class analysis approach. Journal of anxiety disorders, 79, 102378. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.janxdis.2021.102378

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