Change in measures of moral function following acute bouts of Marine Corps Martial Arts Training

Jacob A. Siedlik, Jake A. Deckert, Aaron W. Clopton, Trent J. Herda, Joseph P. Weir, Philip M. Gallagher, John Phillip Vardiman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) was developed to prepare Marines for complex battlefield situations that include hand-to-hand combat and ethical decision making. The objective of this study was to quantify changes in ethical decision-making following MCMAP training. Fifty-five, active duty, newly enlisted U.S. Marines (Males: n = 37; age = 19 ± 1 years; height = 176 ± 7 cm; mass = 74 ± 7 kg; Females: n = 18; age = 20 ± 2 years; height = 164 ± 6 cm; mass = 61 ± 6 kg) volunteered for this investigation and were assessed three times over 6 weeks, with 3 weeks between each visit, using serial blood samples for cortisol, norepinephrine, and epinephrine collected before training and during recovery [Immediate Post (IP), 15, 30, 45 and 60 min]. The Moral Functioning Continuum was used to quantify moral function before training, IP, 30, and 60 min post. Moral intention exhibited an acute response to training with significantly impaired decision making immediately post training. Moreover, both moral intention and moral judgement worsened over the visits suggesting a chronic impairment related to time in training suggesting a functional change in ethical decision-making following acute bouts of MCMAP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)534-543
Number of pages10
JournalStress and Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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