Policy Statements

  1. Research article publication requires at least one author be an active member (i.e., student, affiliate, full, fellow, or Emeritus) of the American Academy of Health Behavior.
  2. The editors and staff of Health Behavior Research adhere to the ethical standards established by the Committee on Publication Ethics (www.publicationethics.org) who will adjudicate any breach of scientific integrity.
  3. The editors and staff of Health Behavior Research follow uniform guidelines for biomedical journals which can be found at https://www.publishingcampus.elsevier.com/pages/63//ethics/Publishing-ethics.html?PAGE_NR=63
  4. Health Behavior Research complies with the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) Code of Conduct.

Information for Authors

  • Article Types
  • Submission Policies
  • Manuscript Preparation
  • Manuscript Review Process
  • Reviewer Information

    • Importance of Peer Review and Reviewing for HBR
    • Being Invited to Review
    • Guidelines for Review
    • Other Policies

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      Information for Authors

      Article Types

      HBR welcomes manuscripts in the form of research articles, current issues, and commentaries. Descriptions and specific guidelines are as follows:

      Research Articles are original empirical manuscripts. We accept qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research articles. This category includes novel empirical research in addition to cutting-edge and/or innovative methodologies or techniques used to answer health behavior research questions.

      Current Issues are scholarly reviews of any current issue or controversy that may be of interest to HBR readers. Papers should be informative with the aim of prompting new thinking and scholarly discourse regarding concepts and theories applied in health behavior research.

      Commentaries are editor-solicited essay-type articles that provide opinions, observations, annotations, and remarks about an article published in the same issue. For areas that may be challenging and/or thought provoking (e.g. changing paradigms, theory critiques), HBR will purposefully invite rebuttals or point/counterpoint articles from appropriate experts in the area who may or may not be Academy members.

      Submissions Policies

      Conditions of Submission

      HBR does not charge submission or publication fees.

      Manuscripts are accepted for consideration with the understanding that: (1) at least one author is a current member of the American Academy for Health Behavior; (2) it has been submitted solely to HBR; (3) it has not been previously published, either in whole or in part; and (4) the contents have not been posted previously in any online format.

      Submission of a manuscript is understood to indicate that the authors have complied with all policies as delineated in this document and the Editorial Policies. The editors adhere to the ethical standards established by the Committee on Publication Ethics (www.publicationethics.org) who will adjudicate any breach of scientific integrity. Individuals who violate these policies are subject to editorial action including, but not limited to: (1) disclosure of violations to employers, funding agencies, or other journal offices; and/or (2) publication of a retraction, correction, editorial expression of concern, or editorial.

      The editors reserve the right to make editorial changes in all matter published within the journal, although the authors’ consent will be sought for any significant changes. The editors, editorial board, sponsoring organization, and publishers are not responsible for the statements expressed by authors in their contributions.

      Ethical Approval

      All studies involving human subjects must include a clear description and statement of appropriate safeguards and ethical approval by appropriate governing bodies in the country where the research was conducted.

      Potential Author Conflicts

      Authors must disclose all relationships that could be viewed as presenting a potential conflict of interest (financial or otherwise).

      Potential Reviewer Conflicts

      Authors may provide editors with the names of persons they believe should not review their manuscript because of a potential conflict. However, when possible, authors should explain the reason(s) for their concerns. Editors will try to avoid selecting reviewers who have potential conflicts of interest.


      In accordance with International Committee of Medical Journal Editors’ recommendations, all authors must have a significant role in the manuscript in that all three of the following conditions must be met: (1) the individual made a substantial contribution to conception and design of the study, to data acquisition, or to data analysis and interpretation; (2) the individual wrote the article and/or revised the article for important intellectual content; and, (3) the individual read and approved the final version of the submitted manuscript. A description of the contribution of each individual listed as an author will be requested upon submission and published in the article.

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      Manuscript Preparation

      All manuscripts will be accepted electronically with the understanding that copyright of all materials is held by HBR. It is the author’s responsibility to gain permission for the use of copyrighted materials with signed release forms submitted with all original photographs. Manuscripts submitted that do not abide by these guidelines will be returned to the authors without undergoing peer review.

      Journal Style

      HBR follows the American Medical Association Manual of Style, 10th edition: http://www.amamanualofstyle.com.

      Please refer to this manual for questions about formatting or structure.

      Cover Letter

      Enter or upload your cover letter in the applicable field on the submission form. The cover letter must state that the manuscript has been submitted solely to HBR and that it has not been previously published, either in whole or in part, nor have the findings been posted online.

      Manuscript Length and Text Format

      Manuscripts must strictly adhere to stated word limits both as new submissions and as revised papers.

      For the initial submission:

      • Format the paper as an 8.5" x 11" (215 mm x 280 mm) page with 1" (25 mm) margins on all four sides.
      • Manuscripts must be double-spaced using Times New Roman 12-point for text and tables.
      • Arial font should be used for figures.
      • Text should be flush left.
      • Boldface is permitted for headings only.
      • Please refer to the section on Article Types for additional instructions and guidelines pertinent to the specific type of article submitted.
      • Do not include page numbers, headers or footers.

      In addition to general manuscript preparation guidelines, Research Articles must also include the following:

      • Title Page. The title page should include the following: title; author names and affiliations: Include the first name, middle initial, last name, and ALL degrees and certifications of each author, as well as the names of their departments and institutions (including city and state), to which the work should be attributed; Corresponding author information: Include the name, full address, telephone number, and e-mail address of the author responsible for correspondence; Word count (total word count, number of pages, tables, and figures); Conflict of interest statement: Include a statement from each of the authors disclosing all funding sources that supported their work as well as all institutional and corporate affiliations. When no competing interests are present, this should be indicated in the publishable disclosure statement (e.g., "The authors have no conflicts of interest to report, financial or otherwise."); and, a description of the contribution of each individual listed as an author is required at the time of submission.
      • Abstract. Prepare a structured abstract of 250 words or fewer (Background, Methods, Results, Conclusion). Enter the abstract in the applicable field on the submission form.
      • Keywords. List no more than 6 key words or short phrases that will assist in cross-indexing and enter them in the applicable field on the submission form.
      • Main body. Text limited to 4,000 words with the following headings, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Implications for Health Behavior Research. Appropriate reporting guidelines and instructions for reporting statistics; Methods descriptions should be succinct but sufficiently detailed to allow replication by a researcher. If study methods have been previously published, a brief description should be provided, in addition to the reference. Statements regarding IRB approval and informed consent are required in the methods section, as appropriate. Submit each table on a separate page. All figures and tables should be incorporated into the body of the Word file to make the manuscript publication-ready. Total limit of 6 tables, 6 figures, or a combination of 6 tables and figures. Identify each with Arabic numerals (Table 1). Appendix tables should be labeled with Arabic numerals (Appendix Table 1). The limit for table titles is 15 words. Footnotes should use lowercase letters (a,b,c), except for footnotes reporting statistical significance.
      • Acknowledgment/Disclaimers/Disclosures Enter in the applicable field on the submission form.
      • References. HBR follows the American Medical Association Manual of Style, 10th edition: http://www.amamanualofstyle.com. Authors are responsible for ensuring the completeness and correctness of all references. The PubMed Citation Matcher is a useful tool: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query/static/citmatch.html. Automatic reference numbering in MS Word is not accepted; programs such as EndNote and Reference Manager are acceptable.
        NOTE: Where available, DOIs (digital object identifiers) for the references must be provided and hotlinked in the Word document. As a member of CrossRef, our publisher, New Prairie Press, is required to include DOIs. Use the free DOI lookup on CrossRef's website to check your citations.
      • Appendix material. Any additional information that is considered to be supportive of the manuscript may be submitted as an appendix (e.g., questionnaire, study protocol, training materials, additional tables, etc.).

      In addition to general manuscript preparation guidelines, Current Issues must also include the following:

      • Unstructured abstract of 100 words or less;
      • Text limited to 2000 words;
      • Reference limit is 20;
      • Total limit of 4 tables, 4 figures, or a combination of 4 tables and figures.

      In addition to general manuscript preparation guidelines Commentaries must also include the following:

      • Unstructured abstract of 100 words or less;
      • Text limited to 500 words;
      • Reference limit is 10;
      • Total limit of 2 tables, 2 figures, or a combination of 2 tables and figures.

      Manuscript submission

      Manuscript sections should be organized into the following MS Word files: (1) title page; text, acknowledgments, references, figure titles, and tables; (2) figures; (3) appendix material. The files should then be combined into one word document named with the corresponding author’s name and date of submission (ex. John_Doe_08_15_2016).

      By submitting each manuscript to the journal of Health Behavior Research, authors confirm that they have thoroughly read the authors guidelines, understand the requirements, received written permission to use all copyrighted materials, and agree that the information is original, factual, and meet all research compliance measures.

      Authors of papers accepted for publication should review our Final Manuscript Preparation Guidelines prior to submitting final revisions.

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      Manuscript Review Process

      Initial Screening

      Upon receipt, all submissions are screened by the editorial assistant to ensure the document has all required elements and appropriately follows formatting guidelines, including word count limits. Manuscripts that do not contain required elements and/or do not follow guidelines will be returned to the author.

      Review Process

      Manuscripts passing initial screening are forwarded to an editor for internal editorial review. In general, authors will be notified within 7-10 business days of submission whether the manuscript will undergo external peer review. Manuscripts that pass internal editorial review will undergo external peer review by three reviewers. External review time is approximately 4 weeks.

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      Reviewer Information

      Health Behavior Research (HBR) is the official journal of the American Academy of Health Behavior. HBR is a peer-reviewed open-access scholarly journal that publishes original research articles, current issues papers, commentaries, and abstracts from the annual meeting of the Academy. The aim of the journal is to advance the science of health behavior research. Published four-times per year, particular emphasis is placed on papers that address concepts and theory used in health behavior research, conceptual frameworks, methods, and analyses.

      The Importance of Peer Review

      Peer review refers to a formal system in which journal submissions are reviewed and evaluated by qualified peers considered knowledgeable in the subject area and scientific methodology who were not involved in manuscript creation. In addition to determining sound and ethical research, peer review assists editors in identifying findings most likely to meet the aims and scope of the journal.

      Reviewing for HBR

      Due to the HBR single-blind review process, it is important that reviewers do not disclose any information in the review that may identify you or your institution.

      Timeline for Reviewing. HBR expects reviewers to complete feedback in a 2-week timeframe. If you have been invited to review, but cannot meet a 2-week deadline, please contact the Assistant Editor at HBR@usf.edu and we will be happy to extend your due date if possible.

      Additional review. In cases where the Editor requests that authors revise and resubmit their manuscript, the revised submission is generally sent back to some or all original peer reviewers for re-review. Reviewers are asked to assess authors’ responses to previous recommendations as well as changes in the manuscript content that reflect these changes. Further rounds of re-review may be necessary if reviewers disagree with reviewer requests. The table below lists the timeline for each stage of the review process.

      Timeline for reviewing
      Review Stage Time for Decision Feedback Provided to author
      Editorial Review Less than one week Reason for Editorial rejection or confirmation that manuscript is being forwarded for peer review
      External peer review Two weeks (may be longer if undergoing specialized statistical review) Decision regarding acceptance/rejection
      Detailed review comments
      Revision review Two weeks Decision on acceptance/rejection
      Detailed review comments

      Being Invited to Review

      Invitations to review will come via email. The invitation email will include a) the title of the manuscript; b) list of authors; and, c) the study abstract (if applicable).

      Accepting a Review Invitation. While the Editorial Office is happy to accommodate review extensions, HBR strives to provide authors with editorial decisions in a timely manner. Regardless of whether the Editorial Office extends your due date, you should only agree to review if you can deliver your feedback on time.

      You may not undertake peer review for a manuscript if you have a conflict of interest (personal, financial, or professional) or any competing financial demands with the manuscript content you are invited to review. If you accept the invitation to review and believe that there may be a conflict of interest, please inform the Editorial Office immediately and we will secure another reviewer.

      It is important to note that while under review, the manuscript should not be discussed with others without express permission from the Editorial Office. If you are collaborating with a colleague or student on your review, please note that in your comments to the Editor. After you review the manuscript, please destroy any and all copies.

      Declining a Review Invitation. If you decide not to accept an invitation to review, please notify the journal editors immediately using the link included in the email, so that editors can seek alternative reviewers.

      Guidelines for Review

      The aim of each peer review is to assist the Editor with a decision regarding possible publication of the manuscript in HBR in addition to helping the authors improve manuscripts before publication. Please submit your review via the link in the email. You will need to complete the following items for all reviews:

      • Disclose all conflicts of interest.
      • Complete the tick boxes in the review form which will be included with the email invitation.
      • Use the designated spaces for free text comments to editors and to authors. In addition to your comments and recommendations for authors, HBR provides you with the opportunity to communicate directly to the Editor. Comments to the Editor are not provided to authors.
      • Number all your comments.
      • Acknowledge help from others – if, after checking with the Editorial Office, you have shared the review task with colleagues or graduate student, please acknowledge their help in your review.
      • Send in your review on time. If you need more time, please contact the Editorial Office at HBR@usf.edu so that they are aware of the need for a deadline extension and can notify authors of any delay.

      Reviews should pay attention to the following items within each section:


      • Is abstract clear?
      • Do you know what the study is about?
      • What are the main outcomes?


      • Does the introduction set up the question that the study answers?
      • Does the introduction make the point that the study is worthwhile?
      • Are references complete and up to date?


      • Is there enough detail to permit replication?
      • Are the study design, methods, and measurements valid?
      • Is the section clear and complete?


      • Do the results match the methods?
      • Was the analysis appropriate?
      • Can you understand and replicate the statistics?
      • Are there ways to eliminate redundancy between tables/figures/text?


      • Does the discussion place the results in context?
      • Are limitations thoughtful and complete?
      • Check for new data – new data shouldn’t be presented in this section
      • Do the study findings support the conclusion?


      • Are they up to date and complete?
      • Check any important or surprising references
      • Check statements that claim no literature exists.

      Figures and Tables

      • Can they stand alone?
      • Is the data presented consistent with the description in the results section?
      • Does the title appropriate describe the information being presented?
      • Are they helpful?


      • Strengths and weaknesses
      • Quality of writing
      • Any unanswered questions?
      • Any ‘fatal flaws’?
      • Does title match content?

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      New Prairie Press recommends the use of the Creative Commons license. The Health Behavior Research requires authors to agree to Creative Commons Attribution and Non-commercial licenses. Authors who publish with the Health Behavior Research agree to the following terms:

      Copyright of all material is held by the American Academy of Health Behavior (AAHB). Authors may use their own material in other publications if AAHB is acknowledged as the original place of publication. Authors grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.

      Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.

      Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.

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      Open Access Policy

      This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.

      Archival Policy

      Contents of the Journal are archived for perpetual access through New Prairie Press' participation in CLOCKSS (Controlled Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) and Portico and managed through the Digital Commons Publishing platform. New Prairie Press also participates in LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe). Once published, the contents are never changed.

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      General Terms and Conditions of Use

      Users of the New Prairie Press website and/or software agree not to misuse the New Prairie Press service or software in any way.

      The failure of New Prairie Press to exercise or enforce any right or provision in the policies or the Submission Agreement does not constitute a waiver of such right or provision. If any term of the Submission Agreement or these policies is found to be invalid, the parties nevertheless agree that the court should endeavor to give effect to the parties' intentions as reflected in the provision, and the other provisions of the Submission Agreement and these policies remain in full force and effect. These policies and the Submission Agreement constitute the entire agreement between New Prairie Press and the Author(s) regarding submission of the Article.

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