Moral injury and moral repair in war veterans: a preliminary model and intervention strategy

Clin Psychol Rev. 2009 Dec;29(8):695-706. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2009.07.003. Epub 2009 Jul 29.


Throughout history, warriors have been confronted with moral and ethical challenges and modern unconventional and guerilla wars amplify these challenges. Potentially morally injurious events, such as perpetrating, failing to prevent, or bearing witness to acts that transgress deeply held moral beliefs and expectations may be deleterious in the long-term, emotionally, psychologically, behaviorally, spiritually, and socially (what we label as moral injury). Although there has been some research on the consequences of unnecessary acts of violence in war zones, the lasting impact of morally injurious experience in war remains chiefly unaddressed. To stimulate a critical examination of moral injury, we review the available literature, define terms, and offer a working conceptual framework and a set of intervention strategies designed to repair moral injury.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Emotions
  • Humans
  • Military Personnel / psychology*
  • Models, Psychological
  • Moral Obligations
  • Morals*
  • Veterans / psychology*
  • Violence / ethics
  • Violence / psychology
  • Warfare / ethics*