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Military moral injury: A concept analysis

Jamieson, N., Maple, M., Ratnarajah, D. and Usher, K. (2020) Military moral injury: A concept analysis. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing . Early View.

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Moral injury is the current term describing the breaching or violation of one’s moral code and has gained international research attention due to suicide linkages in military populations (Jamieson et al., Invisible wounds and suicide: Moral injury and veteran mental health. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 29, 105–109, 2020). Moral injury’s core features are spiritual/existential conflict, shame, guilt and self‐condemnation. To date, research focuses on the core features of moral injury and or the nature of events that exposed individuals to moral injury. Walker and Avant (Strategies for Theory Construction in Nursing, Prentice Hall New York, 2011) concept analysis model was used to examine the literature. The aim of this study is to enhance understanding of the defining attributes, antecedents, consequences and empirical referents of moral injury and systematically analyse the concept of moral injury in the context of military members. A literature search was undertaken using specific websites and journals, electronic databases, library catalogues and hand‐searches. Concept analysis was used to explicate moral injury, focusing exclusively on use of the concept in the included literature, comparing the terms used over time and across disciplines, and measurement tools for the concept. This concept analysis provides a renewed definition of moral injury in relation to the experience of veterans – ‘moral trauma’ and defined as: ‘the existential, psychological, emotional and or spiritual trauma arising from a conflict, violation or betrayal, either by omission or commission, of or within one’s moral beliefs or code(s)’. The analysis will facilitate understanding and operationalization of the concept applied to teaching, learning, practice and research.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Health Futures Institute
Publisher: Wiley
Copyright: © 2020 Australian College of Mental Health Nurses Inc.
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