To broaden our understanding of traumatic events, Litz et al. (2009) introduced moral injury (MI), defined as "perpetrating, failing to prevent, or bearing witness to acts that transgress deeply held moral beliefs and expectations" (pg. 6). While Drescher et al. (2011) interviewed trauma experts to identify types of events that maybe associated with MI, it is unknown if these themes of events are experienced by non-combat veterans (i.e., Vietnam Era Veterans; N=200). Therefore, this qualitative study identifies the themes of traumatic events reported by a random selection of the non-combat subsample within the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS), and compares these themes to those developed by Drescher et al. (2011). Themes of traumatic events included Accidents, Death of a Significant Person, Assaults, Psychosocial High Magnitude Stressors, Serious Illness or Injury, and Natural Disasters. Although MI was not identified by coders as a major theme, 2 potential MI events were noted. These findings suggest that MI may be particular to combat veterans.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Veterans -- Mental health; Military ethics; War -- Moral and ethical aspects; War -- Psychological aspects

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Foy, David;