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American Psychologist - Vol 72, Iss 8

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American Psychologist The American Psychologist is the official journal of the American Psychological Association. As such, the journal contains archival documents and articles covering current issues in psychology, the science and practice of psychology, and psychology's contribution to public policy. Archival and Association documents include, but are not limited to, the annual report of the Association, Council minutes, the Presidential Address, editorials, other reports of the Association, ethics information, surveys of the membership, employment data, obituaries, calendars of events, announcements, and selected award addresses. Articles published cover all aspects of psychology.
Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association
  • 125th anniversary of the American Psychological Association—Accomplishments and challenges: Introduction to the special issue.
    In 2017, the American Psychological Association (APA) celebrates the 125th anniversary of its founding. This special issue commemorates this milestone by providing long- and short-term views on the history of APA and its role in psychology in America. The opening paper presents an overview of initiatives and challenges facing the field of psychology and APA in five periods, each roughly 25 years in length. The remaining eight articles review specific issues and areas of activity over varying lengths of time in more recent years. Issues of policy involvement, relations with the media, and involvement with the courts are described, as well as developments related to social justice, education, science, practice, and publications. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • 125 years of the American Psychological Association.
    The American Psychological Association (APA) began 125 years ago as a small club of a few dozen members in the parlor of its founder, G. Stanley Hall. In the decades since, it has faced many difficulties and even a few existential crises. Originally a scientific society, it spent the decades between the world wars figuring out how to accommodate the growing community of applied psychologists while still retaining and enhancing its scientific reputation. After World War II, with an expanded mandate, it developed formal training models for clinical psychologists and became an important player in legal cases pertaining to civil rights and other social justice issues. With practitioners taking an ever-greater role in the governance of the organization in the late 1970s, and the financial viability of the association in doubt in the 1980s, many psychological scientists felt the need to create a separate organization for themselves. The 1990s and early 2000s brought more challenges: declining divisional memberships; a legal dispute over fees with practitioners; and a serious upheaval over the APA Board of Directors’ cooperation with governmental defense and intelligence agencies during the “war on terror.” These clashes appear to have precipitated a decline in the association’s membership for the first time in its history. The APA has faced many storms over its century-and-a-quarter, but has, thus far, always ultimately found a way forward for itself, for its members, and for the wider discipline of psychology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Psychology, public policy, and advocacy: Past, present, and future.
    This article offers a historical perspective on the contributions of the field of psychology and the American Psychological Association (APA) to the public policy arena. It traces APA’s involvement from a 1956 Council of Representatives resolution on the application of psychology to inform public policy to current advocacy initiatives related to psychological science, practice, and education in the public interest. Attention is directed to APA’s early policy structures together with the development of affiliated state, provincial, and territorial psychological associations and the first political action committee for psychology. The criteria for engagement in advocacy and the goals and functions of APA’s policy and advocacy initiatives, including the APA Congressional and Executive Branch Science Fellowship Program, are also discussed. The evolution of psychology’s public policy role is illustrated by an increasing level of federal advocacy engagement and effectiveness over time, as well as by the emergence of psychology leaders in Congress and the Executive Branch. The authors’ concluding reflections on the future of psychology in the public policy arena derive from their many years of experience working on or with Capitol Hill, at APA as elected officials or senior staff, and in various roles in academia, think tanks, service delivery, and the private sector. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • APA’s amicus curiae program: Bringing psychological research to judicial decisions.
    An important part of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) mission is to advance psychological science “to promote health, education, and public welfare.” Organizations with powerful influence on human welfare include state and federal appellate courts, especially the U.S. Supreme Court. Initially, APA’s amicus briefs focused on issues of importance to both individual psychologists and public policy. As the program evolved, APA increasingly focused on informing the courts about psychological science relevant to important legal issues, including criminal, civil, juvenile, education, disability, and human rights law. These briefs, and the science that supported them, consistently challenged stereotypical beliefs of laypeople with solid, easily understood empirical research. APA impartially advocates for the use of psychological science research findings by the courts, not on behalf of parties. Volunteer experts, including representatives of relevant APA divisions, participate in creating APA briefs. On occasion, other scientific organizations may join with APA in its filings. The measure of an amicus brief is broader than citations in appellate decisions. Although APA’s briefs have been cited many times by courts, a broader impact of APA briefs is seen by references to psychosocial research provided by APA in decisions where its briefs were not specifically cited. APA briefs are being read and are affecting major legal decisions. For APA, the relevant question is not whether its briefs “prevailed” in a case but whether the court was able to render a more informed decision. An important benefit of APA’s amicus program has been advancing both the reputation of psychological science and APA. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Public education and media relations in psychology.
    This article reviews psychology’s attempts to influence public attitudes about both the science and the profession of psychology. The early history of the profession is reviewed, and the efforts of the American Psychological Association (APA) to shape the public’s perception of psychology are discussed. The rise of social media is reviewed, and important social media outlets relevant to psychology are identified. The activities of the Society for Media Psychology and Technology (APA Division 46) are illustrated, and the presidents of the Division are identified. The work of those psychologists who are noted public intellectuals or who have received Nobel prizes or National Medal of Science awards for their research is briefly reviewed, and the public notoriety of 4 prominent media celebrities (Joy Browne, Joyce Brothers, Laura Schlessinger, and Phil McGraw) is discussed. Several controversies in the field of psychology that have influenced the public and their attitudes about psychology are also briefly reviewed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • APA efforts in promoting human rights and social justice.
    This article reviews the American Psychological Association’s (APA) efforts in promoting human rights and social justice. Beginning with a historical review of the conceptualizations of human rights and social justice, the social challenges that have faced the United States over time are discussed in relation to the APA’s evolving mission and strategic initiatives enacted through its boards, committees, and directorates. From early efforts on the Board for Social and Ethical Responsibility in Psychology and the Board of Ethnic Minority Affairs to the establishment of the Public Interest Directorate, the APA’s efforts to address these human rights and social justice challenges through its task force reports, guidelines, and policies are described. Specifically, issues related to diversity and underrepresentation of minority group members and perspective within the APA, as well as women’s issues (prochoice, violence against women, sexualization of young girls, human trafficking) were central to these efforts. These minority groups included racial and ethnic minority groups; immigrants and refugees; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer individuals; and those with disabilities. Later attention shifted to broader social justice challenges within a public health perspective, such as AIDS, obesity, and violence. Also included is a brief discussion of the Hoffman Report. The article ends with a discussion of future directions for the APA’s efforts related to human rights and social justice related to health disparities, violent extremism, social inequality, migration, cultural and racial diversity, and an evidence-based approach to programming. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Twenty-five years of education in psychology and psychology in education.
    This article is part of a special issue of the American Psychologist celebrating the American Psychological Association’s (APA’s) 125th anniversary. The article reviews the last quarter century (1991–2016) of accomplishments by psychology’s education and training community and APA’s Education Directorate. The purpose is to highlight key trends and developments over the past quarter century that illustrate ways the Directorate sought to advance education in psychology and psychology in education, as the Directorate’s mission statement says. The focus of the Directorate has been on building a cooperative culture across psychology’s broad education and training community. Specifically APA has (a) promoted quality education—from prekindergarten through lifelong learning, (b) encouraged accountability through guidelines and standards for education and training, and (c) supported the discovery and dissemination of new knowledge to enhance health, education, and well-being. After identifying challenges and progress, the article discusses the future of the field of psychology and the preparation of its workforce of tomorrow. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • NIH behavioral and social sciences research support: 1980–2016.
    The history of behavioral and social science research funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) between 1980 and 2016 is reviewed. Noncommunicable diseases are now the primary cause of death worldwide and most are strongly linked to behavior. Developed under the prevailing zeitgeist of the biomedical model, behavioral and social science has often been underfunded at NIH. In 1990, the Senate Appropriations Committee, recognizing that behavior may contribute to about half of all premature deaths, recommended that funding for behavioral and social sciences research should be about 10% of the NIH budget. NIH and American Psychological Association efforts to address this goal are described. Data from several sources suggest that this goal has never been realized. Patterns of federal funding for research may have a significant influence on scientific disciplines. Fields of study that have received more extramural funding are associated with greater growth in faculty and higher faculty salaries. A renewed effort to increase the federal investment in behavioral and social sciences research is necessary. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • A quarter century of psychological practice in mental health and health care: 1990–2016.
    Powerful forces have shaped professional psychology over the past 25 years, including significant changes in health policy and health care delivery systems. Examples include managed care cost containment, rapid growth of nondoctoral mental health providers, federal mental health parity legislation, and passage of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, with its emphasis on primary care–behavioral health integration and alternatives to fee-for-service reimbursement. This article considers these factors for psychology as a mental health profession and as a health profession more broadly defined, and describes the American Psychological Association’s advocacy about the value of psychology in each domain. While challenging to psychology’s traditional models of care, these changes offer significant promise for the future of psychology in health care. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • From print to digital (1985–2015): APA’s evolving role in psychological publishing.
    Knowledge dissemination plays an important role in all scientific fields. The American Psychological Association’s (APA) journal publication program was established in 1927. During the 1960s, the Psychological Abstracts publication was computerized. In the mid-1980s, a reenergizing of APA Publishing began, with the establishment of the APA Books Program, as well as the movement of abstracts to CD–ROMs. This article describes the 30-year program of expansion of APA Publishing, covering the period from 1985 through 2015. This period saw the journals program grow from 15 journals to 89 journals, the abstract program grow into an Internet-based delivery system, the creation of the APA’s own PsycNET delivery platform, the creation of 6 addition databases, and the establishment of dictionaries and handbooks of psychology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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