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
Gomez, N. (2015). Climate science: Small glacier has big effect on sea-level rise. Nature, 526(7574), 510–512.
A journal article with 2 authors
Labouriau, R., & Amorim, A. (2008). Comment on “An association between the kinship and fertility of human couples.” Science (New York, N.Y.), 322(5908), 1634; author reply 1634.
A journal article with 3 authors
Li, L., Dudin, Y. O., & Kuzmich, A. (2013). Entanglement between light and an optical atomic excitation. Nature, 498(7455), 466–469.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Beheregaray, L. B., Ciofi, C., Geist, D., Gibbs, J. P., Caccone, A., & Powell, J. R. (2003). Genes record a prehistoric volcano eruption in the Galápagos. Science (New York, N.Y.), 302(5642), 75.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Vegh, A. (2010). Web Development with the Mac®. Wiley Publishing, Inc.
An edited book
Graben, P. B., Zhou, C., Thiel, M., & Kurths, J. (Eds.). (2008). Lectures in Supercomputational Neurosciences: Dynamics in Complex Brain Networks. Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Cuadrado, J. S., Guerra, E., & de Lara, J. (2015). Reusable Model Transformation Components with bentō. In D. Kolovos & M. Wimmer (Eds.), Theory and Practice of Model Transformations: 8th International Conference, ICMT 2015, Held as Part of STAF 2015, L’Aquila, Italy, July 20-21, 2015. Proceedings (pp. 59–65). Springer International Publishing.

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
Andrews, R. (2016, May 6). Thousands Of People Have Been Evacuated In Canada After City-Sized Wildfires Spread Out Of Control. 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. (2007). Aviation and the Environment: Impact of Aviation Noise on Communities Presents Challenges for Airport Operations and Future Growth of the National Airspace System (GAO-08-216T). 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
Vargo, G. (2010). Social protest and the novel: Chartism, the radical press, and early Victorian fiction [Doctoral dissertation]. Columbia 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
Kelly, M. (1992, September 6). THE 1992 CAMPAIGN: The Democrats; Clinton, in South Carolina, Shows He Is a Threat in the South. New York Times, 130.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Gomez, 2015).
This sentence cites two references (Gomez, 2015; Labouriau & Amorim, 2008).

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

  • Two authors: (Labouriau & Amorim, 2008)
  • Three authors: (Li et al., 2013)
  • 6 or more authors: (Beheregaray et al., 2003)

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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