vier soldaten met geweren voor een helicopter
vier soldaten met geweren voor een helicopter

Project Moral Injury

1 February 2020 until 31 August 2026
Project member(s)
Dr T. Molendijk (Tine) Dr W Verkoren (Willemijn) Dr T. Eikenaar (Teun) N. Gilhuis (Naomi) S. van der Maarel (Sofie) , dhr. Kramer, E. (Eric-Hans) , mevr. prof. em. Verweij, D. (Desiree) , mevr. Smit, A. (Annika) , mevr. Drogendijk, A. (Annelieke) , dhr. Elands, M. (Martin) , mevr. Dirksen, M. (Melanie) , mevr. Heide, J.J. ter (Jackie June) , mevr. Wijer, E. van de (Emilie)
Project type

A substantial number of (former) military and police personnel, who work as both performers and targets of violence in high-risk environments, develop ‘moral injury’. As military and police personnel have to operate under increasingly complex circumstances – including dynamic work conditions, task ambiguity and societal criticism – the risk of moral injury mounts. To tackle this societal problem, comprehensive knowledge about the phenomenon of moral injury and adequate interventions that help to prevent it are needed.

However, both are currently lacking. First, current mental health interventions are limited: there is a need for adequate interventions for moral injury. Although moral injury has been recognized as both an ethical and context-shaped issue rather than a mental disorder, most current efforts focus on the development of therapy models for moral injury. Second, current knowledge about moral injury and trauma is limited: there is a need for knowledge about moral injury in context. The narrow focus of current interventions corresponds with current scientific research on moral injury and trauma. This research suffers from a similarly narrow focus on intra-psychic pathology of the individual.

The ultimate aim of this project is twofold. (1) Fewer military and police personnel develop persistent moral injuries and related psychological problems while remaining moral agents. (2) In- and outside the police and military, nationally and internationally, professionals, policy makers and others develop awareness and take measures to reduce moral injury and enhance mental and moral resilience.

Project website


NWO-NWA 2018


CICAM, Netherlands Defense Academy, Police Academy, ARQ National Pyschotrauma Centre, Netherlands Veterans Institute

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