How to format your references using the American Psychologist citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for American Psychologist. For a complete guide how to prepare your manuscript refer to the journal's instructions to authors.

Using reference management software

Typically you don't format your citations and bibliography by hand. The easiest way is to use a reference manager:

PaperpileThe citation style is built in and you can choose it in Settings > Citation Style or Paperpile > Citation Style in Google Docs.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
Mendeley, Zotero, Papers, and othersThe style is either built in or you can download a CSL file that is supported by most references management programs.
BibTeXBibTeX syles are usually part of a LaTeX template. Check the instructions to authors if the publisher offers a LaTeX template for this journal.

Journal articles

Those examples are references to articles in scholarly journals and how they are supposed to appear in your bibliography.

Not all journals organize their published articles in volumes and issues, so these fields are optional. Some electronic journals do not provide a page range, but instead list an article identifier. In a case like this it's safe to use the article identifier instead of the page range.

A journal article with 1 author
Morton, O. (2000). PARTICLE PHYSICS: The Final Tally Leaves LEP a Probable Loser. Science (New York, N.Y.), 290(5495), 1274a.
A journal article with 2 authors
Mohd-Sarip, A., & Verrijzer, C. P. (2004). Molecular biology. A higher order of silence. Science (New York, N.Y.), 306(5701), 1484–1485.
A journal article with 3 authors
Klein, Y., Efrati, E., & Sharon, E. (2007). Shaping of elastic sheets by prescription of non-Euclidean metrics. Science (New York, N.Y.), 315(5815), 1116–1120.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Gouridis, G., Karamanou, S., Gelis, I., Kalodimos, C. G., & Economou, A. (2009). Signal peptides are allosteric activators of the protein translocase. Nature, 462(7271), 363–367.

Books and book chapters

Here are examples of references for authored and edited books as well as book chapters.

An authored book
Bai, Y. (2010). Practical Database Programming with Visual C#.NET. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Colombo, G. (Ed.). (2011). Modern Questions of Celestial Mechanics (Vol. 43). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Boutet, A., Frey, D., Jégou, A., Kermarrec, A.-M., & Ribeiro, H. B. (2013). FreeRec: An Anonymous and Distributed Personalization Architecture. In V. Gramoli & R. Guerraoui (Eds.), Networked Systems: First International Conference, NETYS 2013, Marrakech, Morocco, May 2-4, 2013, Revised Selected Papers (pp. 58–73). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.

Web sites

Sometimes references to web sites should appear directly in the text rather than in the bibliography. Refer to the Instructions to authors for American Psychologist.

Blog post
Hale, T. (2015, October 20). Don’t Miss The Orionid Meteor Shower Tomorrow Night. Retrieved October 30, 2018, from


This example shows the general structure used for government reports, technical reports, and scientific reports. If you can't locate the report number then it might be better to cite the report as a book. For reports it is usually not individual people that are credited as authors, but a governmental department or agency like "U. S. Food and Drug Administration" or "National Cancer Institute".

Government report
Government Accountability Office. (2014). Airport Privatization: Limited Interest despite FAA’s Pilot Program (No. GAO-15-42). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
Calderwood, A. (2014). Improving the singer’s understanding of bebop language: Transcription application (Doctoral dissertation). California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA.

News paper articles

Unlike scholarly journals, news papers do not usually have a volume and issue number. Instead, the full date and page number is required for a correct reference.

New York Times article
Lee, L. (2013, August 15). Bring On The Wind And Water. New York Times, p. D2.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by name and year in parentheses:

This sentence cites one reference (Morton, 2000).
This sentence cites two references (Mohd-Sarip & Verrijzer, 2004; Morton, 2000).

Here are examples of in-text citations with multiple authors:

  • Two authors: (Mohd-Sarip & Verrijzer, 2004)
  • Three authors: (Klein, Efrati, & Sharon, 2007)
  • 6 or more authors: (Gouridis, Karamanou, Gelis, Kalodimos, & Economou, 2009)

About the journal

Full journal titleAmerican Psychologist
AbbreviationAm. Psychol.
ISSN (print)0003-066X
ISSN (online)1935-990X
ScopeGeneral Medicine
General Psychology

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