How to format your references using the The Journal of Positive Psychology citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for The Journal of Positive Psychology. 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.
EndNoteFind the style here: output styles overview
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
Horton, B. (2000). Bioengineering programmes rise to meet the challenge of a young science. Nature, 403(6768), 463–465.
A journal article with 2 authors
Velicogna, I., & Wahr, J. (2006). Acceleration of Greenland ice mass loss in spring 2004. Nature, 443(7109), 329–331.
A journal article with 3 authors
Bonabeau, E., Dorigo, M., & Theraulaz, G. (2000). Inspiration for optimization from social insect behaviour. Nature, 406(6791), 39–42.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Ang, L., Arboleya, S., Lihua, G., Chuihui, Y., Nan, Q., Suarez, M., … Gueimonde, M. (2014). The establishment of the infant intestinal microbiome is not affected by rotavirus vaccination. Scientific Reports, 4, 7417.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Donald, H., & Robert D., G. (2006). Longitudinal Data Analysis: Hedeker/Longitudinal. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Larsson, L.-I. (Ed.). (2011). Cell Fusions: Regulation and Control. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.
A chapter in an edited book
Burton, B., Lepp, M., Morrison, M., & O’Toole, J. (2015). Negative Leaders in School: Extending Ideas from the DRACON Project. In M. Lepp, M. Morrison, & J. O’Toole (Eds.), Acting to Manage Conflict and Bullying Through Evidence-Based Strategies (pp. 59–78). Cham: 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 The Journal of Positive Psychology.

Blog post
Luntz, S. (2016, June 15). Pythons And Boas Evolved In Parallel. 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. (1981). Status Report on Executive Branch Implementation of the National Materials and Minerals Policy, Research and Development Act of 1980 (No. EMD-82-27). 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
Morales, D. (2017). Understanding How Perceptions of School Leadership and School Community Relationships Affected Veteran Teachers’ Decisions to Remain Working in Urban Elementary Schools (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
Koblin, J. (2017, October 20). Actor Takes On Netflix Over Documentary on Drug Kingpin. New York Times, p. B4.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Horton, 2000).
This sentence cites two references (Horton, 2000; Velicogna & Wahr, 2006).

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

  • Two authors: (Velicogna & Wahr, 2006)
  • Three authors: (Bonabeau, Dorigo, & Theraulaz, 2000)
  • 6 or more authors: (Ang et al., 2014)

About the journal

Full journal titleThe Journal of Positive Psychology
AbbreviationJ. Posit. Psychol.
ISSN (print)1743-9760
ISSN (online)1743-9779
ScopeGeneral Psychology

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