BACKGROUND: We examined U.S. veterans’ interest in spiritually-oriented therapy (SOT) for treating inner conflict/moral injury (ICMI); identified combat-related, demographic, religious, and psychological characteristics of those interested in this treatment modality; and determined which participants would prefer SOT therapy.
METHODS: This study was a cross-sectional multi-site study of 464 veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to war time experiences. Participants were recruited from several U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals and interest in SOT was assessed. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to examine the prevalence and correlates of participants’ willingness to participate.
RESULTS: More than 85% of participants indicated willingness to participate in SOT, including 41% who indicated they “definitely” would participate. Logistic regression examining correlates of definitely wanting to participate found it was associated with less time since deployment, more education, not being married, more severe PTSD, and greater religiosity. Level of ICMI was not related to willingness to engage in SOT. Active duty military were less likely than veterans to show interest in SOT. Most participants preferred VA psychologists to provide the therapy, except those who indicated religion was important or very important.
CONCLUSIONS: Many U.S. veterans with PTSD are interested in SOT, particularly when delivered by psychologists. Given widespread ICMI among veterans, the development and empirical testing of such treatments is warranted.