Date of Award

8-1-2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Cashel, Mary Louise

Abstract

Previous research on the symptoms of Moral Injury suggests that it commonly results in clinical impairment (Drescher et al., 2011). Recent models have suggested that Acceptance and Meaning-Making may moderate the relationship between Moral Injury and Posttraumatic Growth (Blackie et al., 2016). However, Meaning-Making and Acceptance have yet to be examined in a population with Moral Injury. Data were collected from 120 participants from Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) online marketplace. Participation was restricted to U.S. military and veterans who have experienced a traumatic event. Participants completed a demographics questionnaire (Seidler, 2016), the Posttraumatic Checklist (PCL; Weathers et al., 2013), the Moral Injury Questionnaire-Military Version (MIQ-M; Currier, Holland, Drescher, & Foy, 2013), the Integration of Stressful Live Events Scale (ISLES; Holland, Currier, Coleman, & Neimeyer, 2010), the Acceptance Subscale of the Multidimensional Psychological Flexibility Inventory (MPFI; Rolffs, Rogge, & Wilson, 2016), and The Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI; Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1995). This study tested the following research hypotheses: 1) Scores for Meaning-Making and Acceptance will significantly and positively predict scores for Posttraumatic Growth in a sample population with PTSD; 2) Scores for Meaning-Making and Acceptance will moderate the relationship between measures of Moral Injury and Posttraumatic Growth, with higher scores of Meaning-Making and Acceptance resulting in higher scores of Posttraumatic Growth and lower scores of Meaning-Making and Acceptance resulting in lower scores of Posttraumatic Growth; 3) Three distinct groups of people can be high and low scores for Moral Injury and symptoms of PTSD. In contrast to the hypothesis, both Acceptance of negative emotions and Meaning-Making demonstrated direct effects but did not moderate the relation between Moral Injury and Posttraumatic Growth. Acceptance also appears to partially mediate the relationship between Moral Injury and PTG. The results of the cluster analysis identified three groups of participants based primarily on scores for Moral Injury, namely those with high, low and moderate scores. Participants with high Moral Injury scores had high scores for PTSD symptoms. The other two groups had moderate PTSD symptom scores. Implications of findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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