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The moderating role of emotion dysregulation in the relation between potentially morally injurious experiences and alcohol misuse among military veterans

APA Citation:

Forkus, S. R., Schick, M. R., Goncharenko, S., Thomas, E. D., Contractor, A. A., & Weiss, N. H. (2021). The moderating role of emotional dysregulation in the relation between potentially morally injurious experiences and alcohol misuse among military Veterans. Military Psychology, 33, 41-49. https://doi.org/10.1080/08995605.2020.1842640

Abstract Created by REACH:

Veterans may be at a high risk for experiencing moral injuries (i.e., engaging in or witnessing events that are against one’s moral beliefs or experiencing a betrayal from trusted others [e.g., unit leaders, peers]). The emotional fallout of these incidents can be difficult to manage and may be linked to alcohol misuse. The current study examined whether negative and positive emotion dysregulation (i.e., difficulty understanding and managing emotions, as well as controlling impulses) may alter the association between moral injuries and alcohol misuse with a sample of 465 Veterans. Further, this study examined whether the type of moral injury impacted the associations among moral injury, emotion dysregulation, and alcohol misuse. Findings indicated that Veterans who experienced greater moral injury and more emotion dysregulation of negative and positive emotions also tended to report greater alcohol misuse.

Focus:

Mental health
Other
Substance use
Veterans

Branch of Service:

Air Force
Army
Coast Guard
Marine Corps
Navy
Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:

Veteran

Subject Affiliation:

Veteran

Population:

Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)

Methodology:

Cross-Sectional Study
Quantitative Study

Authors:

Forkus, Shannon R., Schick, Melissa R., Goncharenko, Svetlana, Thomas, Emmanuel D., Contractor, Ateka A., Weiss, Nicole H.

Abstract:

Alcohol misuse is a serious and pervasive problem among US military Veterans. The commission or omission of acts that transgress important moral standards, known as potentially morally injurious events (PMIEs), has been theoretically and empirically linked to alcohol misuse in this population. Emotion dysregulation has been implicated in the pathogenesis of alcohol misuse and may be relevant in the context of PMIEs. The goal of this study was to examine the roles of negative and positive emotion dysregulation in the relation between PMIEs and alcohol misuse. Participants were a community sample of US military Veterans who were predominantly white (69.5%) and male (71.6%), with a mean age of 38.00. The interaction between PMIEs and both negative and positive emotion dysregulation (separately) significantly predicted alcohol misuse. Simple slopes tests revealed that the relation between PMIEs and alcohol misuse was only significant at high levels of negative and positive emotion dysregulation. Findings underscore the potential utility of targeting both negative and positive emotion dysregulation in alcohol misuse interventions for military Veterans experiencing PMIEs.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

Taylor & Francis

Publication Type:

Article
REACH Publication

Author Affiliation:

Department of Psychology, University of Rhode Island, SRF
Department of Psychology, University of Rhode Island, MRS
Department of Psychology, University of Rhode Island, SG
Department of Psychology, University of Rhode Island, EDT
Department of Psychology, University of North Texas, AAC
Department of Psychology, University of Rhode Island, NHW

Keywords:

alcohol misuse, Military Veterans, negative emotion dysregulation, positive emotion dysregulation, potentially morally injurious events

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

Sponsors:

National Institute on Drug Abuse grant [K23DA039327]

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