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American Psychologist ®, established in 1946, is the official peer-reviewed scholarly journal of the American Psychological Association. As such, American Psychologist publishes current and timely high-impact papers of broad interest, including empirical reports, meta-analyses, and scholarly reviews covering science, practice, education, and policy. Contributions often address national and international policy issues. Articles published are written in a style that is accessible to all psychologists and the public.
American Psychologist welcomes submissions. Please refer to the Manuscript Submission section for details on types of submissions and editorial requirements.
Disclaimer: APA and the Editors of the American Psychologist® assume no responsibility for statements and opinions advanced by the authors of its articles.
Anne E. Kazak 1
Nemours Children's Health System and Thomas Jefferson University
Susan J. Harris
American Psychological Association
University of California, San Diego
The Ohio State University
Jacquelynne S. Eccles
University of Michigan
Elizabeth A. Klonoff
University of Central Florida
Arthur M. Nezu
Stephen M. Rao
John D. Hogan, History of Psychology and Obituaries
St. John's University
Timothy W. Smith, Special Associate Editor
University of Utah
Sandra M. Fowler, Art Co-Editor
La Jolla, California
Kate F. Hays, Art Co-Editor
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Leona S. Aiken
Arizona State University
Drew H. Bailey
University of California, Irvine
Jacques P. Barber
Mark S. Blumberg
University of Iowa
David V. Budescu
Wayne State University
University of Michigan
University of Pennsylvania
Transcultural Mental Health Institute
Patrick J. Curran
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Christopher C. Cushing
University of Kansas
Sarah W. Feldstein Ewing
Oregon Health and Science University
Cynthia García Coll
Gordon C. Nagayama Hall
University of Oregon
Arizona State University
Vikram K. Jaswal
University of Virginia
Lisa H. Jaycox
RAND Corporation, Washington Office
Robert M. Kaplan
Nadine J. Kaslow
Philip C. Kendall
Laura A. King
University of Missouri, Columbia
Rex B. Kline
Frederick T. L. Leong
Michigan State University
Nancy L. McElwain
University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
Vonnie C. McLoyd
University of Michigan
University of California, Berkeley
Sandra L. Murray
University of Buffalo, State University of New York
Christine Maguth Nezu
Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Michael C. Roberts
University of Kansas
Ann Marie Ryan
Michigan State University
David B. Sarwer
Larry J. Seidman
Harvard Medical School
David M. Sobel
Mark B. Sobell
Nova Southeastern University
University of Iowa
VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University School of Medicine
Jack L. Vevea
University of California, Merced
Gregory M. Walton
John L. Woodard
Wayne State University
Keith Owen Yeates
University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Editorial Manuscript Coordinator
David J. Roddy
American Psychological Association
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Prior to submission, please carefully read and follow the submission guidelines detailed below. Manuscripts that do not conform to the submission guidelines will be returned without review.
See the Description tab for information about the editorial coverage of the journal.
Submit manuscripts electronically (.rtf or .doc) via the American Psychologist® Manuscript Submission Portal.
Keep a copy of the manuscript to guard against loss. Do not submit manuscripts via mail, fax, or email. In recognition of the reality that institutional spam filters may capture files from the APA and Editorial Manager, please take the following steps to facilitate communication with our editorial office:
- Provide an alternative email address that we can use to contact you in the event of technical difficulties with email communication using your primary address,
- Add "apa.org" to your list of "safe" addresses and consider asking your IT administrators to add it to their "white list", and
- Contact the editorial office if you do not receive confirmation of your submission within three business days or an editorial decision letter within three months.
General correspondence may be directed to the Editorial Office.
Submission Cover Letter
The cover letter should indicate that the authors have read and followed the American Psychologist (AP) Instructions to Authors. It should also include a statement indicating that the paper has been seen and approved by all authors. The cover letter should describe why the paper is consistent with the mission of AP. The cover letter must confirm that the manuscript has not been published, is not currently submitted elsewhere, and that it does not contain data that are currently submitted or published elsewhere.
On the submission portal you will be asked to provide contact information for three individuals who are qualified to serve as unbiased reviewers for your paper. These people must have published peer reviewed work in a relevant field. They must be without any real or perceived conflict of interest with you and your coauthors and should not have previously read or provided feedback on drafts of the paper. They cannot be at the same institution as any author, cannot be a coauthor on any publications, and must not be a former or current trainee, advisor, or mentor, etc.
When a manuscript contains data that are part of a larger study, authors should describe the larger study and provide references for other study papers. Authors must be prepared to provide copies of related manuscripts when requested as part of the editorial review process. Authors should clarify the relationship between their paper, including detailed specification of the overlap in participants, measures, and analysis, and others from the study. The value-added scientific contribution of their study must be clearly stated in the cover letter.
All research involving human participants must describe oversight of the research process by the relevant Institutional Review Boards and should describe consent and assent procedures briefly in the Method section. All statistical tests should include effect size whenever possible.
First person language ("I", "we") should be avoided. Terminology should be sensitive to the individual who has a disease or disability. The journal endorses the concept of "people first, not their disability." Terminology should reflect the "person with a disability" (e.g., children with diabetes, persons with HIV infection, families of people with cancer) rather than the condition as an adjective (e.g., diabetic children, HIV patients, cancer families). Nonsexist language should be used.
It is important to highlight the significance and novel contribution of the work.
Manuscript Submission Types
AP considers submissions of the following types, described below:
- Original Articles
- Empirical Papers
- Reports of APA Boards, Committees, and Task Forces
- Proposals for Special Sections or Special Issues
- Comments on Published Articles
- Obituaries (by invitation)
AP considers manuscripts on all aspects of psychology, including manuscripts on national and international policy issues. Manuscripts should be current, timely, and of interest to the broad APA membership. They should be written in a style that is accessible and of interest to all psychologists, regardless of area of specialization.
AP publishes high-impact empirical papers with broad relevance for the field of psychology. Successful empirical papers should be primary results of rigorous research studies with implications for psychological theory and/or practice. Examples include results of large multi-site intervention trials, data-driven reports that advance the theory or practice of psychology, and meta-analyses on topics of broad relevance to the field.
Reports of APA Boards, Committees, and Task Forces
Many of the association reports traditionally published in AP have relocated to the APA website. Task force and committee reports may be considered for publication but should be adapted to follow AP manuscript guidelines and, like other manuscript submissions, are subject to external peer review. Practice guidelines that have been adopted as APA policy by the Council of Representatives will be automatically published in AP.
Proposals for Special Sections or Special Issues
Proposals for special sections or issues should be submitted to the AP editor prior to developing the manuscripts.
Feature sections devoted to a particular topic are one means of fulfilling the journal's mission. A special section of the journal may contain three or four papers on a single theme, and a special issue may contain somewhat more, depending on the content area.
Proposals for special sections or special issues should describe their scope, provide a rationale (including why such a section or issue is timely and what contribution it would make to the literature), and list and describe the proposed papers, with potential authors for each. Potential authors should not be recruited until a proposal is accepted.
Proposals are first reviewed by the Editor-in-Chief. Proposals may be circulated to two or three individuals for review. Among the factors used in considering a proposal are
- length of time since this topic was last addressed in AP,
- amount of new research conducted since then,
- whether the range of topics appears appropriate, and
- whether ethnic, racial, gender, and other types of diversity are reflected in the content and population within topic areas
Proposers of special sections or special issues should also consider diversity in the selection of manuscript authors.
If a proposal is approved, an AP Associate Editor will be assigned to be a participating editor of the package. The proposal author will be responsible for recruiting authors, with possible suggestions from the AP editors. Editorial decisions about each manuscript in a special package are made separately.
Comments on Published Articles
Comments on papers in recent issues of American Psychologist may be published. They should provide new and important information on the same topic as the original paper. The goal of the comment should be clearly stated in the first paragraph. Comments may present data or other evidence in support of their intended point(s).
Comments should be submitted no later than 3 months from the date of publication (online posting date) of the article to which they respond. If submitted later, authors must present a strong rationale for considering a comment beyond the standard time frame.
Comments must be limited to 1,000 words (about five double-spaced text pages). Up to 10 references should be provided and are not included in the word count. Comments should include an abstract and keywords. The title of the comment should consist of a brief content-related title followed by a subtitle that identifies the target article, as in "Brief Title: Comment on Author (20xx)." Comments should follow APA style. Authors of comments must disclose any real or perceived conflicts of interest in their cover letter with any of the authors of the original paper.
Comments will be handled by the action editor for the original manuscript. For comments on articles processed during the previous editorship, the current Editor-in-Chief will serve as action editor and will solicit a review from the action editor of the target article when possible. Like all publications in AP, comments may be sent out for peer review. Authors may be asked to revise the Comment. If a Comment is deemed acceptable for publication, authors of the original submission are typically given the opportunity to reply to the Comment. Comments are published in the earliest possible issue of the journal.
Manuscript submissions for the Obituaries section are by invitation only. Candidates for obituaries are selected by the AP Obituary Advisory Committee and the Obituaries section editor.
Authors should prepare manuscripts according to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition. Additional guidance on APA Style is available on the APA Style website.
Manuscripts must not exceed 35 double-spaced pages in length, including the title page, abstract, references, tables, and figures. All regular article submissions must include an abstract containing no more than 250 words typed on a separate page. After the abstract, please supply up to five keywords or brief phrases.
Requests may be made for a small and specific number of additional pages when a strong rationale is presented (e.g., multiple studies presented, particularly complex new methodology). Requests must be made prior to submission.
Authors are expected to avoid bias in their writing (see chapter 3 of the Publication Manual). Accepted manuscripts may be copyedited for bias-free language.
Journal Article Reporting Standards (JARS)
All randomized controlled trials must include a diagram indicating participant flow into the study and a completed JARS checklist. JARS diagrams (and adaptations) should be included whenever possible to clarify the flow of participants through a study.
List references in alphabetical order. Each listed reference should be cited in text, and each text citation should be listed in the References section.
Examples of basic reference formats:
- Journal Article:
Hughes, G., Desantis, A., & Waszak, F. (2013). Mechanisms of intentional binding and sensory attenuation: The role of temporal prediction, temporal control, identity prediction, and motor prediction. Psychological Bulletin, 139, 133–151. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0028566
- Authored Book:
Rogers, T. T., & McClelland, J. L. (2004). Semantic cognition: A parallel distributed processing approach. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
- Chapter in an Edited Book:
Gill, M. J., & Sypher, B. D. (2009). Workplace incivility and organizational trust. In P. Lutgen-Sandvik & B. D. Sypher (Eds.), Destructive organizational communication: Processes, consequences, and constructive ways of organizing (pp. 53–73). New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.
Use Word's Insert Table function when you create tables. Using spaces or tabs in your table will create problems when the table is typeset and may result in errors. Each table should be presented on a separate page following the Reference list.
Graphics files are welcome if supplied as TIFF or EPS files. Multipanel figures (i.e., figures with parts labeled a, b, c, d, etc.) should be assembled into one file.
The minimum line weight for line art is 0.5 point for optimal printing.
For more information about acceptable resolutions, fonts, sizing, and other figure issues, please see the general guidelines.
When possible, please place symbol legends below the figure instead of to the side.
APA offers authors the option to publish their figures online in color without the costs associated with print publication of color figures.
The same caption will appear in both the online (color) and print (black and white) versions. To ensure that the figure can be understood in both formats, authors should add alternative wording (e.g., "the red (dark gray) bars represent") as needed.
For authors who prefer their figures to be published in color both in print and online, original color figures can be printed in color at the editor's and publisher's discretion provided the author agrees to pay:
- $1500 for one figure
- An additional $1000 for the second figure
- An additional $750 for each subsequent figure
We strongly encourage you to use MathType (third-party software) or Equation Editor 3.0 (built into pre-2007 versions of Word) to construct your equations, rather than the equation support that is built into Word 2007 and Word 2010. Equations composed with the built-in Word 2007/Word 2010 equation support are converted to low-resolution graphics when they enter the production process and must be rekeyed by the typesetter, which may introduce errors.
To construct your equations with MathType or Equation Editor 3.0:
- Go to the Text section of the Insert tab and select Object.
- Select MathType or Equation Editor 3.0 in the drop-down menu.
If you have an equation that has already been produced using Microsoft Word 2007 or 2010 and you have access to the full version of MathType 6.5 or later, you can convert this equation to MathType by clicking on MathType Insert Equation. Copy the equation from Microsoft Word and paste it into the MathType box. Verify that your equation is correct, click File, and then click Update. Your equation has now been inserted into your Word file as a MathType Equation. Use Equation Editor 3.0 or MathType only for equations or for formulas that cannot be produced as Word text using the Times or Symbol font.
Because altering computer code in any way (e.g., indents, line spacing, line breaks, page breaks) during the typesetting process could alter its meaning, we treat computer code differently from the rest of your article in our production process. To that end, we request separate files for computer code.
In Online Supplemental Material
We request that runnable source code be included as supplemental material to the article. For more information, visit Supplementing Your Article With Online Material.
In the Text of the Article
If you would like to include code in the text of your published manuscript, please submit a separate file with your code exactly as you want it to appear, using Courier New font with a type size of 8 points. We will make an image of each segment of code in your article that exceeds 40 characters in length. (Shorter snippets of code that appear in text will be typeset in Courier New and run in with the rest of the text.) If an appendix contains a mix of code and explanatory text, please submit a file that contains the entire appendix, with the code keyed in 8-point Courier New.
Submitting Supplemental Materials
APA can place supplemental materials online, available via the published article in the PsycARTICLES® database. Please see Supplementing Your Article With Online Material for more details.
The AP review process is handled by the Editor-in-Chief (EIC) and Associate Editors. All papers are read initially by the EIC or an AE (Action Editor) and a determination is made regarding whether to initiate peer review for the paper. Considerations include the fit of the manuscript with the AP Editorial Coverage Statement including sufficient breadth and potential significance and impact, adherence to the Instructions to Authors, and the written quality of the paper. Papers that are sent for peer review are read by members of the Editorial Board and Ad Hoc reviewers selected by the Action Editor for the paper.
Masked Review Policy
As a matter of policy, the identities of authors and reviewers are masked. Manuscripts that are peer reviewed are circulated without their title pages to mask the identity of the authors. Each copy of a manuscript should include a separate title page with authors' names and affiliations, and these should not appear anywhere else on the manuscript. Footnotes that identify the authors should be typed on a separate page. Authors should make every effort to see that the manuscript itself contains no clue to their identity.
APA policy prohibits an author from submitting the same manuscript for concurrent consideration by two or more publications (see Section 1.12 Conflict of Interest, Publication Manual). APA policy prohibits as well publication of any manuscript that has already been published in whole or substantial part elsewhere. Authors have an obligation to consult journal editors if there is any question concerning prior publication of part or all of their submitted manuscripts.
In light of changing patterns of scientific knowledge dissemination, APA requires authors to provide information on prior dissemination of the data and narrative interpretations of the data/research appearing in the manuscript (e.g., if some or all were presented at a conference or meeting, posted on a listserv, shared on a website, including academic social networks like ResearchGate, etc.). This information (2–4 sentences) must be provided as part of the Author Note.
It is a violation of APA Ethical Principles to publish "as original data, data that have been previously published" (Standard 8.13). In addition, APA Ethical Principles specify that "after research results are published, psychologists do not withhold the data on which their conclusions are based from other competent professionals who seek to verify the substantive claims through reanalysis and who intend to use such data only for that purpose, provided that the confidentiality of the participants can be protected and unless legal rights concerning proprietary data preclude their release" (Standard 8.14). APA expects authors to adhere to these standards. Specifically, APA expects authors to have their data available throughout the editorial review process and for at least 5 years after the date of publication. Authors are required to state in writing that they have complied with APA ethical standards in the treatment of their sample, human or animal, or to describe the details of treatment.
The APA Ethics Office provides the full Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct electronically on its website in HTML, PDF, and Word format. You may also request a copy by emailing or calling the APA Ethics Office (202-336-5930). You may also read "Ethical Principles," December 1992, American Psychologist, Vol. 47, pp. 1597–1611, amended in 2010 (AP, Vol. 65, p. 493) and 2016 (AP, Vol. 71, p. 900).
Authors of accepted papers must obtain and provide to the editor on final acceptance all necessary permissions to reproduce in print and electronic form any copyrighted work, including test materials (or portions thereof), photographs, and other graphic images (including those used as stimuli in experiments). On advice of counsel, APA may decline to publish any image whose copyright status is unknown.
For manuscripts rejected without review. Authors of manuscripts rejected without review may appeal the decision to the Editor-in-Chief, requesting a reconsideration of the decision. If that appeal is rejected but the author believes the decision is inappropriate, the author may next appeal to the APA Chief Editorial Advisor, the ombudsperson for all APA journals. If this appeal fails, the author may make a final appeal to an Appeals Committee, consisting of the chair of the Publications and Communications (P&C) Board, the chair of the Council of Editors (composed of the editors of all APA journals), and the APA Board of Directors' liaison to the P&C Board.
For manuscripts rejected after peer review. An author wishing to appeal a manuscript should direct the editorial appeal first to the Action Editor who made the rejection. If the Action Editor declines to further consider the manuscript, or agrees to review a revision of the manuscript and still rejects it, the author may appeal next to the AP Editor-in-Chief. If the AP Editor-in-Chief believes the appeal has merit, the manuscript may be reassigned to a new associate editor for independent re-review. If the AP Editor-in-Chief rejects the appeal, the author may request that the appeal and the manuscript be sent to the APA Chief Editorial Advisor for evaluation. The next levels of appeal are the Appeals Committee and the APA Board of Directors.
For rejected comments. Decisions on comments are final and cannot be appealed.
Instructions to Artists
AP considers art images for the cover in all media including but not limited to paint, photography, sculpture, mosaic, collage, fabric. Images must be original.
Artists should submit 3 to 6 images electronically for consideration to Susan J. Harris. Please provide the artist's name, phone number, e-mail address, and website if available. If any of the works are held by museums, galleries, or private individuals other than the artist, indicate that information as well. Please provide the title of the artwork for each piece of artwork submitted.
If images are owned by galleries or private individuals, the person submitting must obtain and provide permission from the copyright holder before submission.
The AP art review process is handled initially by the Art Co-Editors. Final selection is made by the AP Editor-in-Chief.
Among factors used in considering artwork are appropriateness of the content and title; bright color; crisp image; visually engaging; and availability of the artist for an interview as the basis for the "On the Cover" essay.
Editorial decisions also take into account the diversity of artists, images, and media. AP seeks to present a wide variety of art and artists to stimulate the eye and mind.
Change of Subscription Mailing Address
To change the mailing address at which you receive the American Psychologist and other mail from APA, please send information to the Subscriptions Department or to
American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
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- Authors and Reviewers Resource Center
Here you'll find guidelines for submitting proposals, calls for papers, tips for preparing manuscripts, APA policies, and more