Moral Injury, Self-Compassion, and Mental Health

Shannon Forkus, University of Rhode Island


Military veterans are exposed to unique stressors (e.g., combat) that can precipitate the onset of various mental health problems. Morally compromising combat experiences have recently gained empirical and clinical attention, following the increased rates of mental health problems observed in Afghanistan and Iraq veterans. The current investigation aimed to assess the relationship between these morally compromising experiences and various mental health outcomes. Further, it examined the potential protective role of self-compassion in these relationships. Specifically, moderation analyses were conducted to evaluate the interaction between exposure to and intensity of morally compromising experiences and self-compassion on various mental health outcomes. Study findings indicate that self-compassion significantly moderated the relationship between morally compromising experiences and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression severity, and deliberate self-harm severity, but not substance misuse. These results highlight the potential clinical utility of self-compassion in military mental health, particularly in the context of morally compromising experiences.^

Subject Area

Mental health|Behavioral sciences

Recommended Citation

Shannon Forkus, "Moral Injury, Self-Compassion, and Mental Health" (2018). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI10785895.