Title

Examining the relations among moral foundations, potentially morally injurious events, and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms.

Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

1-1-2021

Abstract

Military veterans are exposed to unique deployment stressors that can precipitate the onset of various psychological difficulties, including the perception that an important moral standard has been transgressed (i.e., potentially morally injurious events [PMIEs]) and the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Vulnerability to these outcomes may be related to individual differences in moral foundations, including those that function to protect the individual (i.e., individualizing) and those that function to protect the group (i.e., binding). Objective: This study examined the direct and indirect associations among moral foundations, PMIEs, and PTSD symptoms. Method: Participants were 203 military veterans (M age = 35.08, 77.30% male) who completed an online survey. Results: Only the binding moral foundation was found to be significantly and positively associated with both PMIEs and PTSD symptoms. Further, the association between the binding foundation and PTSD symptoms was explained by PMIEs. Conclusions: These findings suggest that certain moral foundations, particularly those that serve “binding” functions—loyalty, authority, and purity—may be important considerations in military mental health. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved) Clinical Impact Statement—Military veterans are at heightened risk for experiencing events that are perceived as transgressing an important moral standard (i.e., potentially morally injurious events [PMIEs]) and developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Thus, examining factors that relate to both PMIEs and PTSD is important for informing theory and practice. Different types of moral belief systems—one that focuses on the protection of the individual (i.e., individualizing) and one that emphasizes the protection of the group (i.e., binding)—were examined in relation to PMIEs and PTSD symptoms. Findings revealed that only the binding foundation was significantly related to PTSD symptoms, and when PMIEs were included in this relation, the association no longer remained. These results seem to suggest that PMIEs account for the relation between the binding foundation and PTSD symptoms. Findings provide novel information on the associations among moral foundations, PMIEs, and PTSD symptoms, which can be used to inform theoretical frameworks and clinical interventions. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Publication Title

Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy

Volume

13

Issue

4

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