A good war? Exploring British veterans’ moral evaluation of deployment.

Karen Burnell, Niall Boyce, Nigel Hunt

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Historically, war trauma research has concentrated on the relationship between level of exposure and development of post-traumatic symptoms. More recently, it has been recognized that intra- and inter- personal differences can mediate how service personnel are affected by their experiences. This paper is a qualitative study exploring moral evaluations of 30 British male veterans towards their deployment in conflicts from WWII to the most recent Iraq War (2003–2009). Retrospective thematic analysis is used to explore moral evaluation and societal support. Four categories emerged based on veterans’ moral evaluation of deployment: justifiable, implicitly justifiable, unclear, and unjustifiable. Analysis revealed broad differences between these groups. Veterans able to justify their experiences reported more posi- tive aspects of both deployment and societal support than those unable to justify their deployment. These findings make clear the importance of future research exploring the interactions between civilians and service personnel, and the impact this has on mental health
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)36-42
    JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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