Moral injury, spiritual care and the role of chaplains: an exploratory scoping review of literature and resources
This scoping review considered the role of chaplains with regard to ‘moral injury’. Moral injury is gaining increasing notoriety. This is due to greater recognition that trauma (in its various forms) can cause much deeper inflictions and afflictions than just physiological or psychological harm, for there may also be wounds affecting the ‘soul’ that are far more difficult to heal-if at all. As part of a larger research program exploring moral injury, a scoping review of literature and other resources was implemented utilising Arksey and O’Malley’s scoping method (Int J Soc Res Methodol 8(1):19-32, 2005) to focus upon moral injury, spirituality (including religion) and chaplaincy. Of the total number of articles and/or resources noting the term ‘moral injury’ in relation to spiritual/religious issues (n = 482), the results revealed 60 resources that specifically noted moral injury and chaplains (or other similar bestowed title). The majority of these resources were clearly positive about the role (or the potential role) of chaplains with regard to mental health issues and/or moral injury. The World Health Organization International Classification of Diseases: Australian Modification of Health Interventions to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and related Health problems (10th revision, vol 3-WHO ICD-10-AM, Geneva, 2002), was utilised as a coding framework to classify and identify distinct chaplaincy roles and interventions with regard to assisting people with moral injury. Several recommendations are made concerning moral injury and chaplaincy, most particularly the need for greater research to be conducted.