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
Timusk, T. (2003). Obituary: Bertram N. Brockhouse (1918-2003). Nature, 426(6967), 617.
A journal article with 2 authors
Oeppen, J., & Vaupel, J. W. (2002). Demography. Broken limits to life expectancy. Science (New York, N.Y.), 296(5570), 1029–1031.
A journal article with 3 authors
Schmidt-Hieber, C., Jonas, P., & Bischofberger, J. (2004). Enhanced synaptic plasticity in newly generated granule cells of the adult hippocampus. Nature, 429(6988), 184–187.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Parikh, N., Youssef, M., Swarup, S., & Eubank, S. (2013). Modeling the effect of transient populations on epidemics in Washington DC. Scientific Reports, 3, 3152.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Ndjountche, T. (2016). Digital Electronics 1. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Ibrahimbegovic, A., & Zlatar, M. (Eds.). (2009). Damage Assessment and Reconstruction after War or Natural Disaster. Springer Netherlands.
A chapter in an edited book
Telnarova, Z. (2011). RDF Data Models in Oracle. In A. Abd Manaf, S. Sahibuddin, R. Ahmad, S. Mohd Daud, & E. El-Qawasmeh (Eds.), Informatics Engineering and Information Science: International Conference, ICIEIS 2011, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 14-16, 2011, Proceedings, Part IV (pp. 52–64). 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
Davis, J. (2015, June 8). China’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Could Peak Within 10 Years. IFLScience; IFLScience.


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. (1986). DOD Schools: Funding and Operating Alternatives for Education of Dependents (HRD-87-16). 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
Volle, M. (2017). Exploring the relationship of meetings to organizational culture and values [Doctoral dissertation]. Pepperdine University.

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
Hu, W. (2016, August 3). Want to Relax at Park or Pool in New York? Join the Crowd. New York Times, A1.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Timusk, 2003).
This sentence cites two references (Oeppen & Vaupel, 2002; Timusk, 2003).

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

  • Two authors: (Oeppen & Vaupel, 2002)
  • Three authors: (Schmidt-Hieber et al., 2004)
  • 6 or more authors: (Parikh et al., 2013)

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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