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HEALTH / WELL-BEING

The impact of moral injury on the wellbeing of UK military veterans

May, 2021
Article:

This cross-sectional study aimed to examine the association between potentially morally injurious events (PMIEs) and the mental health outcomes of UK Armed Forces veterans.

Abstract

Experiences of potentially morally injurious events (PMIEs) have been found to negatively impact the mental health of US personnel/veterans, yet little is known about the effect of PMIEs on the mental health of the UK Armed Forces (AF). This cross-sectional study aimed to examine the association between PMIEs and the mental health outcomes of UK AF veterans. Potentially morally injurious experiences were associated with adverse mental health outcomes, including likely anxiety disorders and suicidal ideation, compared to those who reported no event exposure. The likelihood of meeting criteria for probable PTSD was greatest in those who had experienced a non-morally injurious trauma. No statistically significant association between alcohol misuse and experiencing a PMIE or traumatic event was observed. The results provide preliminary evidence that potentially morally injurious experiences are associated with adverse mental health outcomes in UK AF veterans. Further work is needed to better understand the interplay between morally injurious events and threat-based trauma in order to design effective pathways for prevention and intervention for people exposed to highly challenging events.

Full Reference

Williamson, V., Murphy, D., Stevelink, S. A. M., Allen, S., Jones, E. & Greenberg, N., 2021. The impact of moral injury on the wellbeing of UK military veterans. BMC Psychology, 9. doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-021-00578-7.

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