Measuring morality: Analyzing the factor structure of the moral foundations questionnaire in veterans.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVES: Moral reasoning is an underexamined and potentially useful area of research relative to the care of moral injury in veterans. However, the most widely used measure of moral reasoning, the moral foundations questionnaire (MFQ), has not been validated in this population. METHODS: Post-9/11 veterans (N = 311) completed questionnaires which included the MFQ. Veterans' scores were compared to the general US population. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to test existing models of the MFQ in the sample. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was also used to examine potentially improved model fits. RESULTS: The two leading, preexisting MFQ models were both poor fits for the data. EFA results produced a four-factor model for the veteran sample using 25 of the original 30 items of the MFQ. CONCLUSIONS: Measuring moral reasoning among veterans may be important in understanding the experience of moral injury. However, the most widely used scale (MFQ) performs poorly among a sample of post-9/11 veterans, indicating that veterans may respond differently to the measure than the general US population. Military culture may uniquely influence veterans' moral reasoning, suggesting the need for military specific measures for this construct.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ford, CG; Smigelsky, MA; Yi, JY; Trimm, VM; Wortmann, JH; Meador, KG; Nieuwsma, JA

Published Date

  • April 2023

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 79 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 954 - 968

PubMed ID

  • 36269895

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1097-4679

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/jclp.23448


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States