School of Behavioral Sciences
Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)
moral injury, religious coping, law enforcement
Ethics in Religion | Social and Behavioral Sciences
Ross, Boston D., "Responding to Wounds of the Soul: American Law Enforcement, Moral Injury and Religious Coping" (2022). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 3656.
The concepts of moral injury and religious coping are inherently entwined, based on the common reaction of many to turn to religion when faced with stressors. Specifically, Koch (2010) suggests religion is a common means by which individuals, including police officers, may try and cope with their occupational stress. In consideration of the current focus on police mental health and wellness, examining the literature related to moral injury, religious coping and American law enforcement officers serves as a viable first step in conducting further research. Furthermore, based on the extremely limited body of literature on the aforementioned subject(s) independently, and to an even more limited degree when considered together, the instant research sought to contribute to the base knowledge of the prevalence of moral injury in American law enforcement officers and how specific variables (such as years of service, position, rank, religious affiliation, etc.) may have effect on the existence of moral injury and, additionally, how religious coping may be related to those levels of moral injury. In empirically examining the prevalence and characteristics of moral injury in law enforcement officers, the instant study positions itself within the primary research centered around moral injury and law enforcement officers and satisfies the recommendations of those who have conducted prior research on the topics, building on the slim foundation now existing and contributes to positive progress related to law enforcement mental health and wellness, which can impact a variety of outcomes (including officer self-harm/suicide, job performance, use of force, etc.). Furthermore, a foundation is be laid for future research on religiosity of American police officers, especially regarding how religious coping may be utilized to counter moral injury.