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Keywords:

  • PTSD;
  • guilt;
  • combat;
  • veterans;
  • Vietnam;
  • assessment;
  • scale

Abstract

Despite clinical observations that many veterans have multiple sources of war-related guilt, many problematic guilt issues are commonly not treated or even detected by clinicians. We describe development of a survey that systematically assesses idiosyncratic sources of guilt across the spectrum of events that are potential sources of trauma-related guilt from the war-zone. A multimethod strategy was used to develop a survey with strong content validity. Results indicate the survey is temporally stable, substantially correlated with other measures of guilt, and highly correlated with measures of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. Findings confirm that many Vietnam veterans have multiple sources of severe war-related guilt. The survey may have important clinical utility for problem identification, treatment planning, and evaluating treatment efficacy.