Journal of Behavioral Health and Psychology. 2023; 12(1):(323-340)


Deployment Expereinces and Psychological Determinants of Moral Injury in Nigerian Military Veterans

Fredrick Sonter ANONGO, James Abel, Babatola Dominic OLAWA, Mkpelanga DOOIOR, Binan Evans DAMI, Tersoo SHAAPERA

Abstract
Although there is research consensus that military deployment increases exposure to morally injurious events, little is known about factors that predict moral injury (MI) in veterans, especially in Nigeria. This study examined deployment experiences (combat experiences, number of deployments, duration of deployments) and psychological factors (attribution, early childhood experiences) as determinants of moral injury in Nigerian military veterans. The research was a cross-sectional survey that purposively sampled 148 veterans in three randomly selected military barracks across North-East, Nigeria. To ascertain whether military deployment experiences and psychological factors predict MI in veterans, a series of hierarchical multiple regression were carried out at .01 and .05 level. Findings indicated that, when the demographic and military characteristics were considered, only age (β = -.19, SE = .16, p =.05) and marital status (β = .250, SE = 3.19, p <.01) made significant independent contribution to MI. Also, combat exposure significantly predicted MI in model 2. (β = .296, SE = .23, p< .05). When five early childhood experiences were considered, only physical abuse (β = .60, SE = .53, p <.001) and emotional abuse (β = -.30, SE = .35, p <.01) emerged as significant predictors of MI. These results illustrates the significant influence of early traumatic events, including experiencing physical and emotional abuse and subsequent combat experiences with MI in Nigerian military veterans. The findings underscore the need for policies that mitigate early traumatic experiences as well as predeployment psychological training to prepare military veterans against developing moral injury.
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