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Moral Injury: Contextualized Care

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Amidst the return of military personnel from post-9/11 conflicts, a construct describing the readjustment challenges of some has received increasing attention: moral injury. This term has been variably defined with mental health professionals more recently conceiving of it as a transgression of moral beliefs and expectations that are witnessed, perpetrated, or allowed by the individual. To the extent that morality is a system of conceptualizing right and wrong, individuals’ moral systems are in large measure developmentally and socially derived and interpreted. Thus, in seeking to provide care and aid in reintegration for combat veterans, it is necessary to consider communities that have contributed to an individual’s formation and that might have participated in the interpretation of his/her suffering. This can take many forms, but given that morality is often complexly intertwined with issues of religion, faith, and spirituality for many individuals, and recognizing that much of the current focus on moral injury is emanating out of healthcare contexts, we devote particular attention to how chaplains might be more intentionally engaged in healthcare systems such as the Veterans Health Administration to provide non-judgmental, person-centered, culturally-relevant care rooted in communities of practice to veterans with moral injury.

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Correspondence to Keith G. Meador.

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Meador, K.G., Nieuwsma, J.A. Moral Injury: Contextualized Care. J Med Humanit 39, 93–99 (2018).

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