School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Thomas Vail

Primary Subject Area

Psychology, General


Moral Injury, Veterans, PTSD, Mental Health, Spirituality, Military Combat




Moral injury is not a new concept but there are present concerns surrounding the shortage of noted experiences of Veterans having dealt with moral injury. In addition, challenges in agreeing to a general definition and diagnostic criteria for moral injury are acknowledged. The lack of consensus on what is moral injury, diagnosis requirements, and treatment options are likely to complicate matters further in the future. The inability of the mental health industry and providers to determine a concrete foundation encompassing moral injury led to challenges to the delivery of care to individuals dealing with a moral injury such as Veterans or Active-Duty military members. This study provided descriptive encounters from Veterans who identified or acknowledged links with moral injury. The goal of the study was to provide additional encounters of Veterans who have and currently deal with moral injury to support existing research to assist with the building of a permanent foundation on the concepts surrounding moral injury. Providing Veteran experiences of moral injury within this study delivered additional insights that could be used if needed towards the creation of effective treatment plans and to address challenges surrounding the delivery of care to these individuals. Lastly, this study focused on the ambiguities surrounding the aged concept of moral injury, from setting a working central definition of the term to diagnosing and treating the issue. The purpose of this transcendental phenomenology study was to describe and analyze Veteran’s experiences with moral injury in the community. Moral injury is defined as Veterans feeling guilt or shame for acts, they have committed in service that goes against their internal beliefs or life compass.

Included in

Counseling Commons