Moral injury brain imaging study

Formal Project Title: Brain activation during script-driven imagery (morally injurious events) in veterans with and without PTSD, civilians with PTSD, and controls

HRI Investigators:
Dr. Ruth Lanius
Dr. Margaret McKinnon
Chantelle Lloyd

A moral injury may occur when a person witnesses, fails to prevent, or engages in an event that violates their personal moral beliefs. For example, military members may encounter situations or be forced to make choices that conflict with their own ethical standards.

Exposure to morally injurious situations has been linked to adverse outcomes, including PTSD. Currently, we have a very limited understanding of how the brain and body respond to moral injury.

Research led by Dr. Ruth Lanius (HRI, Western University) uses neuroimaging (fMRI) to explore how the brain processes morally injurious events. Working with patients in the Program for Traumatic Stress Recovery at Homewood Health Centre, Dr. Lanius aims to discover the mechanisms underlying moral injury and how it develops in the brain in order to help people recover more successfully.

Funder: Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR)