School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Jason K. Ward


moral injury, religiosity, veteran, combat


Counseling | Psychology


The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between combat-related moral injury and religiosity. This quantitative study relied on a convenience sample recruited from a 6,000-person database of veterans in upstate South Carolina. The participants were recruited via email invitation and screened for combat exposure and the presence of moral injury. Instrumentation consisted of the 45-item Moral Injury Symptom Scale-Miliary version (MISS-M) and the 15-item Centrality of Religiosity Scale. All participants were anonymous, and responses were given through self-report. Multiple linear regression was conducted on a sample of 119 combat veterans exploring the relationship between the MISS-M’s 10 subscales of guilt, shame, betrayal, moral concerns, loss of trust, difficulty forgiving, loss of meaning/purpose, self-condemnation, religious struggles, and loss of religious faith/hope and with measurements of religiosity. The study found that the subscales of shame, difficulty forgiving, loss of trust, and loss of religious faith/hope were predictors of religiosity. Focusing treatment on these subscales of moral injury can enhance clinical and pastoral counseling treatment outcomes and assist clergy in meeting the needs of their congregations.