Screening for Moral Injury: The Moral Injury Symptom Scale - Military Version Short Form

Harold G. Koenig, Donna Ames, Nagy A. Youssef, John P. Oliver, Fred Volk, Ellen J. Teng, Kerry Haynes, Zachary D. Erickson, Irina Arnold, Keisha O'Garo, Michelle Pearce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Introduction: To develop a short form (SF) of the 45-item multidimensional Moral Injury Symptom Scale - Military Version (MISS-M) to use when screening for moral injury and monitoring treatment response in veterans and active duty military with PTSD. Methods: A total of 427 veterans and active duty military with PTSD symptoms were recruited from VA Medical Centers in Augusta, GA; Los Angeles, CA; Durham, NC; Houston, TX; and San Antonio, TX; and from Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia. The sample was randomly split in two. In the first half (n = 214), exploratory factor analysis identified the highest loading item on each of the 10 MISS scales (guilt, shame, moral concerns, loss of meaning, difficulty forgiving, loss of trust, self-condemnation, religious struggle, and loss of religious faith) to form the 10-item MISS-M-SF; confirmatory factor analysis was then performed to replicate results in the second half of the sample (n = 213). Internal reliability, test-retest reliability, and convergent, discriminant, and concurrent validity were examined in the overall sample. The study was approved by the institutional review boards and the Research & Development (R&D) Committees at Veterans Administration medical centers in Durham, Los Angeles, Augusta, Houston, and San Antonio, and the Liberty University and Duke University Medical Center institutional review boards. Findings: The 10-item MISS-M-SF had a median of 50 and a range of 12-91 (possible range 10-100). Over 70% scored a 9 or 10 (highest possible) on at least one item. Cronbach's alpha was 0.73 (95% CI 0.69-0.76), and test-retest reliability was 0.87 (95% CI 0.79-0.92). Convergent validity with the 45-item MISS-M was r = 0.92. Discriminant validity was demonstrated by relatively weak correlations with social, religious, and physical health constructs (r = 0.21-0.35), and concurrent validity was indicated by strong correlations with PTSD, depression, and anxiety symptoms (r = 0.54-0.58). Discussion: The MISS-M-SF is a reliable and valid measure of MI symptoms that can be used to screen for MI and monitor response to treatment in veterans and active duty military with PTSD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberusy017
Pages (from-to)E659-E665
JournalMilitary medicine
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Nov 5 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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