The Clinical Application of Humility to Moral Injury

An Exemplar of Positive Military Psychology

Authored by: Brandon J. Griffin , Everett L. Worthington , Robert F. Dees , Laurel Shaler , John Benesek , Treven Pickett , Joshua N. Hook , Don E. Davis

Handbook of Humility

Print publication date:  December  2016
Online publication date:  December  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138960008
eBook ISBN: 9781315660462
Adobe ISBN: 9781317337164


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Military service in general, and combat in particular, can present a wide variety of scenarios to service members that pose ethical challenges and in some circumstances violate personal values. Although exposure alone does not necessarily lead to clinically significant levels of distress, moral injury can occur when service members witness or perpetrate an act that violates their sociomoral values and impairs their perceptions of self-worth and social connection. In the current chapter, we develop a sociocognitive framework to guide efforts intended to alleviate the problem of service-related moral injury, and we introduce humility—that is, a dispositional tendency to form accurate self-appraisals, behave in other-orientated ways, and present oneself modestly—as a component of prevention and intervention efforts that target moral injury.

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