Exposure to combat incidents within military and civilian populations as possible correlates of potentially morally injurious events and moral injury outcomes among Israeli combat veterans

Gadi Zerach, Yossi Levi-Belz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: Exposure to potentially morally injurious events (PMIEs) is considered a necessary but insufficient determinant of moral injury (MI) outcomes. However, a question remains regarding possible acts and the necessary features of PMIEs that should be considered transgressive and might lead to MI psychopathological outcomes. We aim to examine the links between exposure to combat incidents within civilian Palestinian populations (CPPs), PMIEs and MI-related outcomes of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms (PTSS), trauma-related guilt and shame. We also aim to explore the mediating roles of subjective perceptions of PMIEs in the relationship between exposure to combat incidents within CPP and MI-related outcomes among combat veterans. Method: A volunteer sample of 716 Israeli combat veterans responded to self-report questionnaires in a cross-sectional design study. Results: Exposure to combat incidents within CPP has been primarily associated with perpetration based PMIEs and MI-related guilt outcomes. Importantly, betrayal-based PMIEs mediated the association between reports of being the victim of verbal violence by militants and/or civilians and MI outcomes. Moreover, perpetration-based PMIEs mediated associations between reports of personal acts, or witnessing acts, of physical and verbal violence and degradation by militants and/or civilians, and MI outcomes. Conclusions: Military incidents within civilian populations are related to subjective perceptions of PMIEs and MI-related psychopathological outcomes. While betrayal-based experiences might serve as a mechanism to being a victim of verbal violence and MI outcomes, perpetration-based experiences might serve as mechanisms to physical, verbal and degradation incidents and MI outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-288
Number of pages15
JournalClinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • PTSD
  • guilt
  • moral injury
  • shame

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