Combat guilt and its relationship to PTSD symptoms

Kris R. Henning, B. Christopher Frueh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

99 Scopus citations

Abstract

Guilt regarding combat experiences is often considered an associated symptom of PTSD in military veterans. Little is known, however, about the role combat guilt plays in the development and maintenance of PTSD. Inadequate measurement of combat-related guilt may be one reason for this deficiency in the literature. In the present study, 40 veterans with PTSD completed a novel measure of combat guilt. Items on the scale assessed various types of guilt and shame concerning combat experiences (i.e., survive guilt, guilt over acts of omission and acts of commission, guilt about thoughts/feelings). Guilt was quite prevalent within this sample, and severity of guilt regarding combat was positively correlated with the reexperiencing and avoidance symptoms of PTSD and a general measure of PTSD severity. Implications of these findings and recommendations for the development of measures for combat-related guilt are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)801-808
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Volume53
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology

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