Soul wounds among combat trauma survivors: Experience, effects, and advice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The term soul wounds is gaining momentum in military psychology to index spiritual distress from traumatic experiences in combat. Fully capitalizing on the promise of the concept, however, requires research privileging the voices of military personnel themselves. The goal of our study was to examine whether the concept of soul wounds resonates with U.S. service members and veterans who graduated from a combat trauma healing course. Results from semistructured interviews with 40 graduates of the REBOOT Combat Recovery course provided insight into the experience of soul wounds (Research Question 1), the effects of soul wounds on everyday life (Research Question 2), and advice for dealing with soul wounds (Research Question 3). Participants affirmed the value of the concept and reported a variety of negative consequences. Implications for practice include addressing the anger military personnel experience in the aftermath of soul wounds, counteracting the stigma of seeking help, and fostering healthy relationships among those experiencing soul wounds.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-23
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • Combat trauma
  • Health
  • Military
  • Reboot recovery
  • Soul wounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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