Kent and Robyn will outline the new construct of moral injury which has emerged related to war veterans. Moral injury has been defined as: “Perpetrating, failing to prevent, bearing witness to, or learning about acts that transgress deeply held moral beliefs and expectations.” Historically, morality has been viewed as a set of "universal" verbal rules governing behavior shared by a particular culture or religious tradition. Recent morality research suggests that morality is dynamic and highly social in nature. There is evidence that human beings respond intuitively to moral imperatives across multiple and even conflictual social groups and relationships. Moral injury can be viewed as a values conflict or violation experienced in high-stakes situations.
Kent and Robyn will provide a conceptual overview, a brief summary of the research to date. They will also share a rationale for why ACT may be uniquely relevant for this painful veteran experience, as well as for moral distress in other populations. They will describe their efforts in creating an ACT-based intervention for moral injury among veterans, and provide suggestions as to how this work might be extended toward other clinical populations.