Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 54, Issue 4, pp 1403–1415 | Cite as

Religious Moral Beliefs Inversely Related to Trauma Experiences Severity and Presented Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among Bosnia and Herzegovina War Veterans

  • Mevludin HasanovićEmail author
  • Izet Pajević
Original Paper


The aim of this study was to determine the correlation of the level of religious moral beliefs (RMB) with trauma experiences and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) severity in war veterans of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The sample consists of 120 Bosnian war veterans divided into two equal groups—one with and one without PTSD. We used the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire and the RMB belief scale. We then correlated the severity of trauma experiences and PTSD symptoms with veterans’ scores on the RMB scale. The score on the RMB scale was negatively correlated to severity of trauma experiences and PTSD symptoms (Pearson’s r = −0.509, P = 0.004; Pearson’s r = −0.325, P < 0.001, respectively). The RMB may have protective role in the mental health stability of severely traumatized war veterans.


Religious moral belief War veterans PTSD Mental health stability Bosnia and Herzegovina 



This study is supported by the Tuzla Canton Ministry for Culture, Sport and Education, University Clinical Center Tuzla, to whom we would like to express our gratefulness. Also, we would like to thank the war veterans and their officers (who were not clinically treated) that accepted to participate in this study. Thanks to Muhammed Hasanović for his valuable contributions in this manuscript. Particular thanks to Zoe Oakley for English language-editing.

Conflict of interest

We have no potential conflict of interest pertaining to this submission to the Journal of Religion and Health.


  1. Allden, K., Cerić, I., Kapetanović, A., Lavelle, J., Loga, S., Mathias, M., et al. (1998a). Harvard Trauma Questionnaire: Bosnia–Herzegovina Version. Cambridge: Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma. (Available in English and Bosnian).Google Scholar
  2. Allden, K., Frančišković, T., Lavelle, J., Mathias, M., McInnes, K., Mollica, R. F., Moro, L. (1998) Harvard Trauma Questionnaire: Croatian Veterans Version. Cambridge: Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma. (Available in English and Croatian).Google Scholar
  3. Avdibegović, E., Hasanović, M., Selimbašić, Z., Pajević, I., & Sinanović, O. (2008). Mental health care of psychotraumatized persons in post war Bosnia and Herzegovina—Experiences from Tuzla canton. Psychiatria Danubina, 20(4), 474–484.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Brennen, T., Hasanović, M., Zotović, M., Blix, I., Skar, A. M., Prelić, N. K., et al. (2010). Trauma exposure in childhood impairs the ability to recall specific autobiographical memories in late adolescence. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 23(2), 240–247. doi: 10.1002/jts.20513.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Connor, K. M., Davidson, J. R., & Lee, L. C. (2003). Spirituality, resilience, and anger in survivors of violent trauma: a community survey. J Trauma Stress, 16(5), 487–494. doi: 10.1023/A:1025762512279.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ćorić, Š. Š. (1998). Psihologija religioznosti. Jastrebarsko: Naklada Slap.Google Scholar
  7. Delić, A., Hasanović, M., Avdibegović, E., Dimitrijević, A., Hancheva, C., Scher, C., et al. (2014). Academic model of trauma healing in post-war societies. Acta MedICA Academica, 43(1), 76–80. doi: 10.5644/ama2006-124.103.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. From, E. (1984). Zdravo društvo. Zagreb. Beograd: Naprijed. Nolit. August Cesarec.Google Scholar
  9. Hasanović, M. (2011). Psychological consequences of war-traumatized children and adolescents in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Acta Medica Academica, 40(1), 45–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hasanović, M. (2012). Posttraumatic stress disorder of Bosnian internally displaced and refugee adolescents from three different regions after the war 1992–1995 in Bosnia–Herzegovina. Paediatrics Today, 8(1), 22–31.Google Scholar
  11. Hasanović, M., & Herenda, S. (2008). Post traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety among family medicine residents after 1992–95 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Psychiatria Danubina, 20(3), 278–286.Google Scholar
  12. Hasanović, M., & Pajević, I. (2010). Religious moral believes as mental health protective factor of war veterans who are suffering from: PTSD, depressiveness, anxiety, tobacco and alcohol misuse in co-morbidity. Psychiatria Danubina, 22(2), 203–210.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Hasanović, M., & Pajević, I. (2013). Religious moral beliefs inversely related to trauma experiences severity and depression severity among war veterans in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Journal of Religion and Health, 52(3), 730–739. doi: 10.1007/s10943-012-9643-4.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hasanović, M., Sinanović, O., Pajević, I., & Agius, M. (2011). The spiritual approach to group psychotherapy treatment of Psychotraumatized persons in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina. Religions, 2(3), 330–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hasanović, M., Sinanović, O., Selimbašić, Z., Pajević, I., & Avdibegović, E. (2006). Psychological disturbances of war-traumatized children from different foster and family settings in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Croatian Medical Journal, 47(1), 85–94.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Hodgetts, G., Broers, T., Godwin, M., Bowering, E., & Hasanović, M. (2003). Post-traumatic stress disorder among family physicians in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Family Practice, 20(4), 489–491.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kravić, N., Pajević, I., & Hasanović, M. (2013). Surviving genocide in Srebrenica during the early childhood and adolescent personality. Croatian Medical Journal, 54(1), 55–64.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lyons, J. A. (1991). Self-mutilation by man with posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 179(8), 505–507.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mihaljević, S., Aukst-Margetić, B., Vuksan-Ćusa, B., Koić, E., & Milošević, M. (2012). Hopelessness, suicidality and religious coping in Croatian war veterans with PTSD. Psychiatria Danubina, 24(3), 292–297.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Mollica, R. F., McInnes, K., Sarajlić, N., Lavelle, J., Sarajlić, I., & Massagli, M. P. (1999). Disability associated with psychiatric comorbidity and health status in Bosnian refugees living in Croatia. JAMA, 282(5), 433–439.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nitzche, F. (2003). Genealogija morala – prevod sa njemačkog jezika Genealogie der Moral – Eine Streitschrift fon Friedrich Nitzche. Leipzig: Velag von C.G. Nauman. 1887. U: Niče: S onu stranu dobra i zla. Genealogija morala. Beograd: Dereta, 169–276.Google Scholar
  22. Pajević, I. (1999). Utjecaj religioznosti na psihičko sazrijevanje i zdravlje adolescenata. Doktorska disertacija. Tuzla: Medicinski fakultet Univerziteta u Tuzli (Mentor: Prof. Dr. O. Sinanović).Google Scholar
  23. Pajević, I., Hasanović, M., & Delić, A. (2007). The influence of religious moral beliefs on adolescents’ mental stability. Psychiatria Danubina, 19(3), 173–183.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Pajević, I., Hasanović, M., & Koprić, A. (2010). Psychiatry in a battle zone. Bioethics, 24(6), 304–307. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8519.2009.01742.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Pajević, I., Sinanović, O., & Hasanović, M. (2005). Religiosity and mental health. Psychiatria Danubina, 17(1–2), 84–89.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Pavlović, S., Hasanović, M., & Prelić, N. K. (2012). Changes in intellectual area in war veterans developed PTSD. Psychiatria Danubina, 24(Suppl 3), S377–S383.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Quackenbos, S., Privette, G., & Klentz, B. (1986). Psychotherapy and religion: rapprochement or antithesis? Journal of Conseling and Development, 65, 82–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Robinson, L. H. (1986). Psychoanalysis and religion: A comparison. In L. H. Robinson (Ed.), Psychiatry and religion. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.Google Scholar
  29. Schaefer, F. C., Blazer, D. G., & Koenig, H. G. (2008). Religious and spiritual factors and the consequences of trauma: A review and model of the interrelationship. International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, 38(4), 507–524.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schulman, M. (2002). How to become moral: The source of moral motivation. In C. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), Handbook of positive psychology. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Wansink, B., & Wansink, C. S. (2013). Are there atheists in foxholes? Combat intensity and religious behavior. Journal of Religion and Health, 52(3), 769–779.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wilson, J., & Moran, T. (1997). Understanding and assessing PTSD in religion and spiritual context (22 chapter). In J. Wilson & T. Keane (Eds.), Assessing psychological trauma and PTSD: A handbook for clinical and legal practitioners. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity Clinical Center TuzlaTuzlaBosnia and Herzegovina
  2. 2.School of Medicine of University of TuzlaTuzlaBosnia and Herzegovina
  3. 3.School of Islamic PedagogyUniversity of ZenicaZenicaBosnia and Herzegovina

Personalised recommendations