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
Heglund, N. C. (2004). Physiology. Running a-fowl of the law. Science (New York, N.Y.), 303(5654), 47–48.
A journal article with 2 authors
van Putten, M. H. P. M., & Levinson, A. (2002). Detecting energy emissions from a rotating black hole. Science (New York, N.Y.), 295(5561), 1874–1877.
A journal article with 3 authors
Duan, Q., Goodale, E., & Quan, R.-C. (2014). Bird fruit preferences match the frequency of fruit colours in tropical Asia. Scientific Reports, 4, 5627.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Zhang, J., Zhao, Y., Xu, C., Hong, Y., Lu, H., Wu, J., & Chen, Y. (2014). Association between serum free fatty acid levels and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a cross-sectional study. Scientific Reports, 4, 5832.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Steenbarger, B. N. (2015). Trading Psychology 2.0. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Pokorski, M. (Ed.). (2016). Advances in Clinical Science (1st ed. 2016, Vol. 878). Springer International Publishing.
A chapter in an edited book
Vukotic, A., & Goodwill, J. (2011). Persistent Sessions. In J. Goodwill (Ed.), Apache Tomcat 7 (pp. 95–118). Apress.

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
Fang, J. (2014, August 26). Zombifying Fungus Recognizes the Brain of its Favorite Host. 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. (1991). Transportation Infrastructure: Highway Program Consolidation (RCED-91-198). 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
Crozier, C. F. (2012). A qualitative study of teacher job satisfaction in an evolutionary and mandated change environment [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Phoenix.

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, C. (2016, October 6). ‘The Only Girl in the Building.’ New York Times, AR8.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Heglund, 2004).
This sentence cites two references (Heglund, 2004; van Putten & Levinson, 2002).

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

  • Two authors: (van Putten & Levinson, 2002)
  • Three authors: (Duan et al., 2014)
  • 6 or more authors: (Zhang 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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