Examining the Interaction Between Potentially Morally Injurious Events and Religiosity in Relation to Alcohol Misuse Among Military Veterans

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Given the disproportionate rate of alcohol misuse among veterans and related outcomes as compared to the general population, the examination of predictors of alcohol misuse in this population is imperative. Potentially morally injurious events (PMIEs), defined as severe transgressions of a moral code, have been positively associated with alcohol misuse. Exposure to PMIEs may challenge one's religious beliefs, which may, in turn, influence the strength of the association between PMIEs and alcohol misuse among military veterans. The goal of the current study was to examine the potential moderating role of religiosity in the association between PMIEs and alcohol misuse (i.e., alcohol consumption, drinking behaviors, adverse reactions to drinking, and alcohol-related problems). Participants were 496 military veterans in the community (Mage = 37.80 years, SD = 11.42; 70.5% male). The results of moderation analyses indicated that overall religiosity, organizational religiosity, and intrinsic religiosity significantly moderated the association between PMIEs and alcohol misuse such that the positive relation between PMIEs and alcohol misuse was stronger at high versus low levels of religiosity, R2s =.01. Our findings highlight the importance of considering the role of religiosity in relation to alcohol misuse as a moral injury outcome and the potential utility of tailoring treatments for military veterans who have experienced moral injury.

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Journal of Traumatic Stress