Australian Psychologist

Cover image for Vol. 52 Issue 3

Edited By: Maria Kangas

Impact Factor: 0.724

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2015: 83/129 (Psychology Multidisciplinary)

Online ISSN: 1742-9544

Associated Title(s): Australian Journal of Psychology, Clinical Psychologist

Author Guidelines



Thank you for your interest in Australian Psychologist. Please read the journal's Aims and Scope prior to submission to ensure your article falls within the journal's remit. Please also read the complete Author Guidelines carefully prior to submission. Note that submission implies that the content has not been published or submitted for publication elsewhere except as a brief abstract in the proceedings of a scientific meeting or symposium.

Once you have prepared your submission in accordance with the Guidelines, manuscripts should be submitted online at

For submission queries, please contact


Australian Psychologist will accept empirical (quantitative, qualitative, and case study) reports of new or continuing research that is completed to a high standard and relevant to psychological practice, health policy, and to the readership of the journal. Australian Psychologist will also publish commentaries and response to commentaries of articles appearing in the journal.

Submissions should not exceed 8000 words including references, tables, and figures. Quantitative and narrative reviews have word limits of 5000 and 5000 words, respectively. Commentaries and Case Studies have word limits of 6000 and 4000 words, respectively. Authors should state the total number of words in their manuscript on its front page. Each manuscript must contain a structured abstract of approximately 200–250 words.


Manuscripts should follow the style of the American Psychological Association’s publication guidelines (6th edition), except in regards to spelling. Australian Psychologist uses Australian spelling and authors should therefore follow the latest edition of The Macquarie Dictionary (3rd ed. Rev.). All articles published by the journal will be in English only.


Unless otherwise stated, the following section on empirical reports pertains to quantitative and/or qualitative research, as well as Case Studies. Due to the inherent differences in reporting of each style of manuscript, the sections for qualitative research and case studies provide further guidelines for those manuscript types. The use of the terms hypothesis and hypotheses in this context relates to both research questions and hypotheses.

Empirical Reports

While the display of information and subsections may vary depending on the type of research or analyses conducted, Empirical Reports submitted for publication to Australian Psychologist should adhere to the format described in the Journal Article Reporting Standards (JARS) Guidelines for reporting psychological research reports and Meta-Analysis Reporting Standards (MARS) guidelines for the reporting of meta-analyses (i.e., Appendix of APA Publication Manual, Consistent with the publication guidelines of the American Psychological Association (6th edition), JARS and MARS guidelines provide a standard way of reporting data to ensure readers have the appropriate information required to evaluate the importance of the findings. Authors describing other review methodologies should also comply, where appropriate, with JARS and MARS guidelines. Manuscripts should be presented in the following order: title page, abstract and key words, text, key points, acknowledgments, references, appendices, endnotes, tables (each table complete with title and footnotes), and figures. Footnotes to the text are not allowed and any such material should be incorporated as endnotes.

Further specification on manuscript sections is provided below. Note, for qualitative research, the method, results and discussion sections may differ from directions d), e), and f) below as specified in the section entitled qualitative research. Additional guidelines are available within the Author Checklists.

a) Title page: As manuscripts are subject to anonymous peer review, material that might identify authorship of the paper should be omitted from the title page (and throughout the manuscript) as this will be sent to reviewers. The title page should contain (i) the title of the paper, (ii) the running head (less than 40 characters), and (iii) date of the manuscript. The title should be short, informative and contain the variables under investigation and other major key words. Authors should not use abbreviations in the title.

b) Abstract: All manuscripts published in Australian Psychologist will include a structured abstract stating in 200–250 words the major points made and the principal conclusions reached. The abstract must include the following sections: Objective, Method, Results, and Conclusions. The abstract should not contain abbreviations or references. Six key words (for the purposes of indexing) should be supplied below the abstract in alphabetical order.

c) Introduction: Australian Psychologist will only accept manuscripts that support their conceptual and theoretical positions with data or previous research. Authors should: outline the importance of the problem and theoretical and practical implications; provide a comprehensive, up-to-date literature review and critique using the best available forms of evidence; state how the present research is different to previous research; specify research aims, hypotheses or research questions; describe how theory was used to derive hypotheses or research questions; and how the research design and hypotheses relate.

d) Method: The method section of quantitative and qualitative reports must contain a sufficiently detailed account of the measures and procedures to ensure reader understanding and replication. Specifically, the method should describe: the participant characteristics and any inclusion/exclusion criteria; demographic variables and any topic-specific characteristics; sampling procedures used for selecting participants, including information regarding the sampling method, percentage of sample approached that participated; where the data were collected (e.g., within the workplace, clinic, private practice, at an off-site setting such as an independent office, via post, etc.); any conditional requirements for participation such as payment of participants, agreement to provide study results, entry into a prize raffle; informed consent; ethical approval statement (Australian Psychologist retains the right to reject any manuscript on the basis of unethical conduct in research); intended and actual sample size and power analyses used to determine sample size; all study instruments used, including those that are not being reported within the present study; interview transcripts, where relevant; whether parts of the database have been previously published or are being published separately; psychometric or biometric information on measures, where relevant; assignment method; and statistical analyses procedures .

e) Results: For quantitative studies, Australian Psychologist requires the adequate reporting of statistical significance of results. Authors should report means, standard deviations, and confidence intervals for all continuous study variables and the effect sizes for the primary study findings (if effect sizes are not available within analyses used, authors should detail this within a cover letter during submission). Authors should also report confidence intervals for any effect sizes involving principal outcomes. This section should include participant flow (i.e., total number of participants, and flow of participants through each stage of the study); recruitment, dates of the recruitment period and any repeated measures of follow-up assessments; all information regarding statistical analyses, including any problems with assumptions or distributions that could affect the validity of findings, any missing data (including percentages or frequencies, any theories regarding the cause of missing data and whether it is missing at random, and the methods used to address missing data); information regarding cases deleted from any primary or secondary analysis, subgroup or cell sample sizes, means, standard deviations, and other descriptive statistics, and effect sizes and confidence intervals; information regarding the error rate adopted for inferential statistics and the direction, magnitude, degrees of freedom, and exact p level; variance-covariance matrix or matrices associated with multivariate analytic systems; estimation problems; the statistical software program that was utilised; any information surrounding other analyses (e.g., exploratory analyses); and a discussion of implication of ancillary analyses for statistical error rates.

f) Discussion: For quantitative reports, this section should include a statement surrounding support or non-support for all hypotheses and how these were assessed (i.e., primary or secondary analyses, or post hoc explanations); similarities or differences between results and those found in previous research; an interpretation of results accounting for any sources of bias and threats to validity, the imprecision of measures, the overall number of tests and the overlap among tests, and any limitations or weaknesses of the study; generalizability of the findings accounting for the target population and any contextual issues; and a discussion surrounding the implications for future research, programs, or policies. The discussion section of the manuscript should also discuss the diversity of the study sample and the generalizability of findings.

g) Key points: Authors are required to provide 3 key points each for “what is already known about this topic” and “what this topic adds” as part of the manuscript submission. The key points should be written with a practitioner audience in mind.

h) Research team description: This section should be separate from the manuscript and include a short 50-word description of the author and research team.

i) Acknowledgements: The source of financial grants and other funding must be acknowledged, including a declaration of the authors’ industrial links and affiliations. The contribution of colleagues or institutions should also be acknowledged. Personal thanks are not appropriate.

j) References: All referencing, footnotes, tables and figures must be prepared including Digital Object Identifiers according to the requirements outlined in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (currently 6th edition).

k) Endnotes should be placed as a list at the end of the manuscript only, not at the foot of each page. They should be numbered in the list and referred to in the text with consecutive, superscript Arabic numerals. Endnotes should be brief and contain only short comments tangential to the main argument of the paper; they should not include references.

l) Appendices should be placed at the end of the manuscript, numbered in Roman numerals and referred to in the text. If written by a person other than the author of the main text, the writer’s name should be included below the title.

m) Tables should be self-contained and complement, but not duplicate, information contained in the text. Number tables consecutively in the text in Arabic numerals. Type tables on a separate page with the legend above. Legends should be concise but comprehensive – the table, legend and footnotes must be understandable without reference to the text. Vertical lines should not be used to separate columns. Column headings should be brief, with units of measurement in parentheses; all abbreviations must be defined in footnotes. Footnote symbols: †, ‡, §, ¶, should be used (in that order) and *, **, *** should be reserved for p values. Statistical measures such as M, SD, or SEM should be identified in the headings using appropriate statistical notation as outlined in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition).

n) Figure Legends. Legends should be concise but comprehensive – the figure and its legend must be understandable without reference to the text. Include definitions of any symbols used and define/explain all abbreviations and units of measurement.

Preparing Figures. Although we encourage authors to send us the highest-quality figures possible, for peer-review purposes we are happy to accept a wide variety of formats, sizes, and resolutions.

Click here for the basic figure requirements for figures submitted with manuscripts for initial peer review, as well as the more detailed post-acceptance figure requirements.

Colour figures: Figures submitted in colour may be reproduced in colour online free of charge. Please note, however, that it is preferable that line figures (e.g. graphs and charts) are supplied in black and white so that they are legible if printed by a reader in black and white. If you wish to have figures printed in colour in hard copies of the journal, a fee will be charged by the Publisher.

Qualitative Reports

Qualitative research encompasses various paradigms for reporting primarily textual data, although visual and graphical data are increasingly included in qualitative research. Australian Psychologist requires authors to adhere to high standards of research and reporting to ensure the quality of the research and the social relevance of the findings and interpretations. Although there are differences in the conduct of research between qualitative and quantitative research, there are similarities in the reporting and the respect for participants is first-and-foremost.

Important factors for publication include:

a) The quality of research achieved through open-ended, meaningful questions to achieve rich responses, and, in the case of deductive logic, seeking disconfirmation, rather than confirmation, of theory/hypotheses;
b) The depth and length of interview/focus group data, with a description of the method(s) of data collection (i.e., using an open-ended, flexible format or a structured interview using a pre-determined set of questions);
c) The variety of evidence, sampled from multiple and different participants and the use of other forms of data where relevant, such as field notes, site documents, and participant observation;
d) The use of quotes/excerpts from data sources; and
e) Attention to rigour by using, where appropriate, credibility checks, attending to trustworthiness/dependability of the findings and the author’s perspective/reflexivity, and providing a description of the context to allow assessments of the transferability of findings.

Refer to Empirical Reports sections (a) title page, (b) abstract, and (g) to (n) for further specifications on manuscripts.

Case Studies

Case studies have long been an important aspect of the development of psychological practice, and add depth to the knowledge and skills of practitioners. Case Studies help to develop theory and practice and to extend upon empirical work in any area of psychological practice, including work with individual clients, groups, or organizations. Authors should provide an objective account of the case and any related variables, diagnostic features, the interventions made and the observed and measured effects, and any possible alternative explanations for the observed variables in relation to the case. Authors must give careful attention to the ethical and legal considerations of reporting Case Studies and abide by the current Australian Psychological Society’s Code of Ethics. Any Case Study submitted for publication must provide a statement that written informed consent was obtained from the individual or individual(s) concerned for the Case Study, and every effort should be taken to ensure that all demographic and other identifying information less relevant to the presentation of the case (e.g., location and type of employment, gender, age, ethnicity, cultural identification) is excluded from, or anonymised, in the manuscript. When submitting studies utilising children and adolescents as participants, a statement must be provided that legal guardians also provided consent for any procedure and the publication of the Case Study.

Case Studies should present information in the following general format:

a) Case Context and Method, including the rationale for selecting the case in point, any methodological strategies used to enhance the rigour of the study, information on the setting of the Case Study, and confidentiality.

b) A description of the psychology practitioner including demographic information, theoretical orientation, educational attainment, and relevant experience.

c) A description of the client(s), including demographic and diagnostic information; case conceptualisation, including the client’s problems, goals, strengths, and history. Note: ‘client’ refers to both individual clients and groups, communities, or organisations.

d) Formulation, a link between guiding conceptions of the client and previous research publications and the psychologist's previous practical experience.

e) Course of psychological service, including information on the alliance and relationship built between client and psychologist, assessment, intervention, and description of any strains encountered in the professional relationship with the consulting psychologist. Further useful information would be interactions between the client and psychologist, and the interventions and strategies that the psychologist used and any client reaction (the best method being transcripts of important interactions).

f) Monitoring of psychological service and use of feedback information and, if feedback was used, the report should consist of; i) psychologist completed and self-report questionnaires, ii) peer feedback, iii) psychologist self-reflection, and iv) feedback from professionals who have previously or concurrently worked with the client (consistent with the Australian Psychological Society’s Code of Ethics). Case studies omitting appropriate evaluation of psychological services (i.e., using psychometrically based assessments) will not be published.

g) Concluding evaluation of the outcome of service and its process, including information on reaching client / group/ organisational goals and alleviating presenting problems at conclusion of service and follow-up (if assessed), strengths and weaknesses of the approach, and any issues regarding funding. A discussion of the case in relation to previously reported cases (where available), research and theory, and possible hypotheses or recommendations for practice, should also be included.

Case Studies submitted for manuscript should otherwise follow the format of standard reports submitted to Australian Psychologist for publication, including a covering letter, title page, abstract, and a reference list. Tables and figures may be included if necessary, and text should not exceed 4000 words.

Refer to Empirical Reports sections (a) title page, (b) abstract, and (g) to (n) for further specifications on manuscripts.

Reviews (Quantitative and Narrative)

Review Articles are intended to provide a summation of research on a specific issue or question that is relevant to the readership of Australian Psychologist and to general clinical practice, specialty practice, or public health. Review Articles should provide scope for the subject matter, its background, and relevance to practice while also describing recent empirical research, and conceptual and theoretical papers. Systematic reviews are preferred to narrative reviews, which may be published circumstantially. Authors should include the best-quality evidence where available (e.g., randomised controlled trials and meta-analyses), although novel findings may also be included when especially relevant and justified. An impartial discussion surrounding the evidence provided and any controversies within the research should be included. If Review Articles are to use unpublished data, a source must be provided (e.g., registered trial, unpublished doctoral dissertation, etc.).

The length of a Review Article may vary substantially according to the size of the research domain and the scope of the issue, although narrative reviews should not exceed 5000 words, including references, tables, and figures. Quantitative reviews should not exceed 8000 words, including references, tables, and figures. Abstracts for reviews should include information regarding the context for and relevance of the research, how evidence for the review was obtained (i.e., databases searched, years searched, search terms), as well as any exclusion criteria that were used, a summation of findings, conclusions that can be drawn, and implications for psychological practice.

Refer to Empirical Reports sections (a) title page, (b) abstract, and (g) to (n) for further specifications on manuscripts.

Commentaries (and Response to Commentaries)

Australian Psychologist publishes commentaries of previously published articles in the journal. Commentaries have a limit of 6000 words inclusive of all matter. The purpose of a Commentary is to provide a meaningful insight, concern, alternative interpretation, clarification, or critical analysis of a report or review previously published in Australian Psychologist. Publication of the Commentary would provide a more comprehensive understanding of the issue that significantly adds to the literature. Commentaries that focus on issues such as small sample size or statistical power alone rather than provide a substantial critique will not be considered for publication. Only submissions that are written in a constructive and respectful tone will be published in Australian Psychologist.

All Commentaries (and response to Commentaries) published in Australian Psychologist will include an unstructured abstract stating in 200-250 words the major points made and the principal conclusions reached.

The title of a Commentary should include a subtitle reflecting the title and year of publication of the article that engendered the comment. For example–“Comment on A Model for Increasing Youth Engagement in Education (Smith & Jones, 2014).”

Subject to the decision of the Editor-in-Chief, if such a paper is accepted, the author(s) of the original article(s) may be contacted to write a response, whereupon, if acceptable, both the Comment and Response to Comment or Commentaries would be published together, subject to the timely delivery of comments and space within the journal. Invited Responses should not exceed approximately one half the length of the Comment.

Supporting Information

Supporting information is information that is not essential to the article but that provides greater depth and background. It is hosted online, and appears without editing or typesetting. It may include tables, figures, videos, datasets, etc. Click here for Wiley’s FAQs on supporting information.

Note, if data, scripts or other artefacts used to generate the analyses presented in the paper are available via a publicly available data repository, authors should include a reference to the location of the material within their paper.

Wiley Author Resources

Wiley has a range of resources for authors preparing manuscripts for submission available here. In particular, authors may benefit from referring to Wiley’s best practice tips on Writing for Search Engine Optimization.

Editing, Translation and Formatting Support: Wiley Editing Services can greatly improve the chances of your manuscript being accepted. Offering expert help in English language editing, translation, manuscript formatting and figure preparation, Wiley Editing Services ensures that your manuscript is ready for submission.


Peer Review

The acceptance criteria for all papers are the quality and originality of the research and its significance to our readership. Except where otherwise stated, manuscripts are double-blind peer reviewed by two anonymous reviewers and the Editor. Final acceptance or rejection rests with the Editorial Board, who reserves the right to refuse any material for publication.

Manuscripts should be in a clear, concise, direct style. Where contributions are judged as acceptable for publication on the basis of content, the Editor and the Publisher reserve the right to modify typescripts to eliminate ambiguity and repetition and improve communication between author and reader.

Human Studies and Subjects

For manuscripts reporting medical studies involving human participants, we require a statement identifying the ethics committee that approved the study, and that the study conforms to recognized standards, for example: Declaration of Helsinki; US Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects; or European Medicines Agency Guidelines for Good Clinical Practice. Images and information from individual participants will only be published where the authors have obtained the individual's free prior informed consent. Non-essential identifying details should be omitted.

Conflict of Interest Statement

The journal requires that all authors disclose any potential sources of conflict of interest. Any interest or relationship, financial or otherwise that might be perceived as influencing an author's objectivity is considered a potential source of conflict of interest. These must be disclosed when directly relevant or directly related to the work that the authors describe in their manuscript. Potential sources of conflict of interest include, but are not limited to, patent or stock ownership, membership of a company board of directors, membership of an advisory board or committee for a company, and consultancy for or receipt of speaker's fees from a company. The existence of a conflict of interest does not preclude publication. It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to review this policy with all authors and collectively to disclose with the submission ALL pertinent commercial and other relationships.

Data policy

The APS encourages data sharing wherever possible, and subscribes to the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, which states that “Research data should be made available for use by the other researchers unless this is prevented by ethical, privacy or confidentiality matters.” Authors publishing in the journal are therefore encouraged to make their data, scripts and other artefacts used to generate the analyses presented in the paper available via a publicly available data repository, however this is not mandatory. If the study includes original data, at least one author must confirm that he or she had full access to all the data in the study, and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Authorship and Acknowledgements

The author submitting a manuscript must ensure that all authors listed are eligible for authorship. Each author should take responsibility for substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work AND drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content AND final approval of the version to be published AND agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

Contributions from anyone who does not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed, with permission from the contributor, in an Acknowledgments section (for example, to recognize contributions from people who provided technical help, collation of data, writing assistance, acquisition of funding, or a department chairperson who provided general support).

Publication Ethics
This journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). Note this journal uses iThenticate’s CrossCheck software to detect instances of overlapping and similar text in submitted manuscripts. Read our Top 10 Publishing Ethics Tips for Authors here. Wiley’s Publication Ethics Guidelines can be found at


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General information regarding licensing and copyright is available here. To review the Creative Commons License options offered under OnlineOpen, please click here. (Note that certain funders mandate that a particular type of CC license has to be used; to check this please click here.)

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UK authors: Note that all papers published in the journal are eligible for Panel A: Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience in the Research Excellence Framework (REF).


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Access and sharing

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Updated 30 January 2017