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This study is the first to examine the relationship between moral foundations preferences and the severity of moral injury symptoms reported by U.S. veterans. A total of 85 participants were recruited through social media pages for veterans, and participants completed an online survey assessing their severity and type of moral injury and their preferences for each of the five core moral foundations. Viewing moral injury through the lens of the moral foundations theory allows for an in-depth understanding of the cause and nature of moral injury. Overall, veterans’ preferences for different groups of moral foundations had a significant relationship with the severity of the subtypes of moral injury they experienced. Veterans who have experienced a potentially morally injurious event (pMIE) and are suffering from moral injury as a result are likely not receiving adequate treatment, as moral injury is often masked and presents as alternative diagnoses (PTSD, depression, etc.). Assessing veterans’ moral foundations preferences in addition to determining the severity of their self- and other-directed moral injury will allow for more effective treatments to be developed and implemented.


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19 Jul 2022
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  • Alternative title
    • Veterans Experience Moral Injury Differently Based on Moral Foundation

  • Journal title
    • Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship

  • Volume
    • 13

  • Issue
    • 4

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • License
  • Keywords
  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Daniel Perez. E-mail: