New Research: Combat Experience and Strength of Faith

The authors, VA researchers, wanted to explore the relationship of combat deaths to changes in strength of religious faith.  Findings showed that Veterans’ experiences of killing others or failing to prevent a death weakened their religious faith.  Faith was weakened both directly and through guilt.  Weakened religious faith was related to greater use of mental health services.  That was true regardless of severity of PTSD symptoms or limits in social support.  The finding suggests that a primary motivation for Veterans’ continuing in treatment may be their search for a meaning and purpose in their traumatic experiences.  The authors concluded, “This possibility raises the broader issue of whether spirituality should be more central to the treatment of PTSD, either in the form of a greater role for pastoral counseling or a wider inclusion of spiritual issues in traditional psychotherapy for PTSD.”

Want more information? See the source: The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 2004, Volume 192, Issue number 9, pages 579-584.  Authors: A. Fontana & R. Rosenheck.  Title: Change in Strength of Religious Faith, and Mental Health Service Use Among Veterans Treated for PTSD.

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