Date of Conferral





Counselor Education and Supervision


Laura Haddock


Many combat veterans face difficulties coping with their personal lives, relationships, and families when they leave the service and return to civilian life. Most studies examining the effects of combat on veterans focus on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as a collection of related consequences. Interest in the term moral injury of military veterans as a related mental health construct has grown. Researchers have investigated the effects of spiritual wellness of combat veterans. However, there is a paucity of counseling literature on the relationship between spiritual wellness and moral injury when combat veterans return to civilian life. Investigating the relationship between spiritual wellness and moral injury as based in existential theory could offer insights to improve quality of life of veterans, families, and society. This study examined the connection between spiritual wellness and moral injury among combat veterans using a quantitative survey with a cross-sectional, correlational analysis and incorporating demographic variables. Results showed that the relationship of spiritual wellness on moral injury is statistically significant. Participants with low spiritual well-being were likely to have an elevated level of moral injury. Those with strong levels of life meaning and purpose were less likely to experience moral injury. These findings can be used to help combat veterans heal from the wounds of war. Clinical interventions associated with life meaning and purpose could enable successful reintegration of combat veterans into society. Results could be used to identify and test specific treatment options. Outcomes could also be used to explore the relationship of combat veterans to other professions subject to moral injury and further explore the relationship of moral injury to PTSD.