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
Smil, V. (2001). Genius loci. Nature, 409(6816), 21.
A journal article with 2 authors
Wuchty, S., & Uetz, P. (2014). Protein-protein Interaction Networks of E. coli and S. cerevisiae are similar. Scientific Reports, 4, 7187.
A journal article with 3 authors
Pinker, R. T., Zhang, B., & Dutton, E. G. (2005). Do satellites detect trends in surface solar radiation? Science (New York, N.Y.), 308(5723), 850–854.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Zhang, Y.-X., Perry, K., Vinci, V. A., Powell, K., Stemmer, W. P. C., & del Cardayré, S. B. (2002). Genome shuffling leads to rapid phenotypic improvement in bacteria. Nature, 415(6872), 644–646.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Lipiansky, E. (2012). Electrical, Electronics, and Digital Hardware Essentials for Scientists and Engineers. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Beaty, B. (2016). The Greatest Comic Book of All Time: Symbolic Capital and the Field of American Comic Books (B. Woo, Ed.). Palgrave Macmillan US.
A chapter in an edited book
L’Hostis, A. (2013). Theoretical Models of Time-Space: The Role of Transport Networks in the Shrinking and Shrivelling of Geographical Space. In C. Rozenblat & G. Melançon (Eds.), Methods for Multilevel Analysis and Visualisation of Geographical Networks (pp. 55–66). Springer Netherlands.

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
Luntz, S. (2015, January 10). Infants Too Young For Vaccines Catch Measles From Unvaccinated Children At Disneyland. 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. (1992). Financial Management: NASA’s Financial Reports Are Based on Unreliable Data (AFMD-93-3). 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
McCarthy, A. C. (2012). Tangle towns tie-breaker: A multidimensional knapsack study [Doctoral dissertation]. California State University, Long Beach.

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
Sisario, B. (2016, December 21). Nielsen, Highlighting Value of Data, Is Buying Gracenote for $560 Million. New York Times, B3.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Smil, 2001).
This sentence cites two references (Smil, 2001; Wuchty & Uetz, 2014).

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

  • Two authors: (Wuchty & Uetz, 2014)
  • Three authors: (Pinker et al., 2005)
  • 6 or more authors: (Zhang et al., 2002)

About the journal

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

Other styles