Moral Injury in Military Operations – A review of the literature and key considerations for the Canadian Armed Forces

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Authors
  1. Thompson, M.M.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Toronto Research Centre , Toronto ON (CAN)
Abstract
As the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) regroup from its largest deployment since Korea and the longest combat deployment since the Second World War, emerging mental health data suggests that approximately 14% of CAF personnel who had deployed to Afghanistan had a mental health disorder that was linked to the Afghan mission. This paper focuses on a particular psychological aftermath of military operations, that which may be associated with the moral and ethical challenges that personnel face in military missions. More specifically, in this paper I provide an introduction to the concept of moral injury, formally defined as the psychological anguish that can result from“[p]erpetrating, failing to prevent, bearing witness to, or learning about acts that transgress deeply held moral beliefs and expectations (Litz et al., 2014, p. 697). I begin with a brief overview of the essential role of morality and ethics in military operations. I then outline the historical development of the concept of moral injury, discuss its symptomology, and outline the current approaches to treatment. I conclude by discussing a number of key considerations for the CAF in terms of a way ahead with respect to the issue of moral injury.

Il y a un résumé en français ici.

Keywords
moral injury;operational ethics;stress and coping
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2015-R029 — Scientific Report
Date of publication
01 Mar 2015
Number of Pages
46
DSTKIM No
CA040149
CANDIS No
801216
Format(s):
Electronic Document(PDF)

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