Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type


First Advisor

Victoria Hunter


: Invisible war wounds have garnered more attention since the Vietnam War. One recent development in this area of study is the concept of moral injury, which was introduced in 2009. Moral injury is as a shame-based reaction in response to a moral transgression, which was perpetrated or witnessed by an individual who had personal agency (or at least the perception of agency) in the outcome of the event. The development of moral injury is influenced by the independent variables: false impetus/perception of cause, the nature of counterinsurgency warfare, and military training protocol. These independent variables influence and are influenced by two mediated variables: moral disengagement and disparity. There is also a brief discussion on moral injury’s relationship to the recent increasing rate of soldier suicide, a trend which some have deemed an epidemic. My study is situated within the context of the Iraq War, though it also pulls some information from the Vietnam War. In order to examine moral injury, I review the working definition and use academic literature, news articles, and veteran accounts to engage in a critical analysis. Through this critical analysis I was able to highlight moral injury’s theoretical strong points, as well as suggest areas for possible improvement.