Moral injury

How is moral injury related to PTSD?

Exposure to at least one trauma is required for a diagnosis of PTSD. The latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) determines direct traumas as threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence. Indirect traumas include witnessing the trauma, or learning that a relative or close friend was exposed to a trauma. Differences in trauma characteristics, including the severity and type of exposure, can affect the risk of developing PTSD. Personal characteristics such as age and sex also influence risk.

This summary table presents the evidence for PTSD following moral injury. Moral injury involves transgressions to moral beliefs and expectations that are associated with strong emotions related to the event, including guilt, anger, and disgust.

What is the evidence for the risk of PTSD in people exposed to moral injury?

Moderate to high quality evidence found a medium-sized association between increased workplace moral injury and increased PTSD symptoms in soldiers, veterans, police, and journalists.

August 2021

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Last updated at: 11:23 pm, 11th October 2021
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Fact Sheet Technical Commentary

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Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.