Intolerance of Uncertainty Moderates the Association Between Potentially Morally Injurious Events and Suicide Ideation and Behavior Among Combat Veterans

Gadi Zerach, Yossi Levi-Belz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Exposure to potentially morally injurious events (PMIEs) among combat veterans has been acknowledged as significant stressful combat events that may lead to mental health problems, including self-injurious thoughts and behavior (SITB). However, few studies have examined the risk and protective factors that can explain the conditions in which PMIEs may contribute to the development and maintenance of SITB. In the current study, we aimed to examine the association between PMIEs and SITB among combat veterans and explore the moderating roles of intolerance of uncertainty (IU) in this association. A volunteer sample of 191 Israeli combat veterans was recruited during 2017. Participants completed validated self-report questionnaires in a cross-sectional study. Results indicated that two separate measures of PMIEs, the Perceived Perpetration by Oneself and Others subscale of the Moral Injury Events Scale (MIES) and the Causes subscale of the Moral Injury Questionnaire (MIQ–Causes), were positively associated with higher levels of SITB. Moreover, beyond the contributions of reserve duty, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and depressive symptoms, MIQ–Causes scores significantly predicted current SITB. Importantly, under low and average levels of inhibitory IU, significant positive effects were revealed for the MIQ–Causes on current SITB, R² =.34. Although veterans exposed to PMIEs are more prone to SITB, even years after their release from military service, their IU may temper the link between experiences of PMIEs and SITB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-436
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
Volume32
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2019

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