Policy Statements

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. Health Behavior Research complies with the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) Code of Conduct. Users have the right to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full text of articles in this journal, and to use them for any other lawful purpose.

Information for Authors

  • Article Types
  • Submission Policies
  • Manuscript Preparation
  • Manuscript Review Process
  • 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. This category includes novel empirical research in addition to cutting-edge and/or innovative methodologies or techniques used to answer health behavior research questions.

    Research Briefs are smaller-scale Research Articles. This category includes pilot (or preliminary) studies, studies that report the validation process for surveys/instruments, and overall smaller-scale studies 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.

    Submission Policies

    Conditions of Submission

    HBR does not charge submission or publication fees.

    Manuscripts are accepted for consideration with the understanding that: (1) it has been submitted solely to HBR; (2) it has not been previously published, either in whole or in part; and (3) 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. PLEASE NOTE: All manuscripts must be submitted with a Cover Letter and a signed APA Format Checklist (see below). All manuscripts must abide by the APA 7th Edition publication guidelines. Manuscripts that do not abide by these guidelines will be returned to the authors without undergoing peer review.

    Journal Style

    HBR follows the American Psychological Association Manual, 7th edition. Please refer to the Owl at Purdue APA Style Guide for questions about formatting or structure.

    Cover Letter

    The cover letter should be uploaded in the requested field on the submission form and 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.

    APA Format Checklist

    Please download and sign the APA Format Checklist to acknowledge the manuscript follows APA 7th Edition manuscript preparation guidelines

    Upload the signed Checklist as an Additional File on the submission form.

    Manuscript Format

    Prepare manuscript following APA 7th Edition manuscript preparation guidelines and the APA Format Checklist.

    In addition to general manuscript preparation guidelines, Research Briefs must also include the following:
    Unstructured abstract of 150 words or less;
    Text limited to 2000 words;
    Reference limit is 25;
    Total limit of 2 exhibits (i.e. tables, figures, etc)

    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. Limited to 250 words. List no more than six key words or short phrases that will assist in cross-indexing (will not be included in 250 word count)

      Main body. Text limited to 4,000 words with the following headings:

      • Methods. 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.
      • This section should clearly present the study findings.
      • This section should describe the importance and contributions of the findings, limitations, and conclusions. This section should not merely restate the results.
      • Implications for Health Behavior Theory. This section should be thoughtful, interpretative, and directive, and not merely a gratuitous inclusion. The details in this section MUST BE ACTION-ORIENTED – i.e., what researchers should do, what practitioners should do, or what policymakers should do as a result of your study findings based on the applied theoretical framework. Most important here is illustration of the implications your work has for translation of the theoretical framework to practice to improve health behaviors. If possible, recommended actions should relate back to applications of how we define, measure, interrelate or apply theoretical constructs and theories. THIS SECTION IS INTENDED TO BE WHAT SEPARATES THIS PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATION FROM MANY OTHERS. This section is not just an extension of the Discussion or a summary of findings. Your paper will be returned to you until these parameters are addressed as described.

      References. HBR follows the American Psychological Association Manual of Style, 6th edition. Please refer to the Owl at Purdue APA Style Guide and/or the APA Checklist for questions about formatting or structure. 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. 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.

      Figures and Tables. 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.


      Discussion Questions. Authors must include 1-2 discussion questions related to their article. These questions should be constructed to elicit rich, thoughtful discussion about your study. These questions might be used as the American Academy of Health Behavior (AAHB) listserv* to promote your paper and engage AAHB members in discussions about your paper. Examples discussion questions are included below.

      • Our findings indicate a need to move away from individual-focused models to describe, explain, and predict behavior. What are the best approaches for moving forward in this realm? (Developed by the Editors as an example question in response to: http://newprairiepress.org/hbr/vol1/iss1/6/ )
      • We suggest that objective and cumulative analyses of treatment processes and outcomes rather than single-case testimonies or biased accounts within health promotion practice might encourage partnerships between researchers and practitioners. What unintended consequences or challenges might exist related to a growth in partnerships between researchers and practitioners for more precise measurement in health promotion practice? (Developed by the Editors as an example question in response to: http://newprairiepress.org/hbr/vol1/iss1/9/ )

    *Note: Only AAHB members have access to the AAHB listserv. To gain access to the listserv, please consider applying for membership with the American Academy of Health Behavior.

    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;
    • No text limit;
    • 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) cover letter; (2) signed APA Checklist; (3) title page; abstract, text, acknowledgments, references, figure titles, and tables; (4) figures; (5) 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

    The peer review process for Health Behavior Research is a double-blind process. Authors do not know the peer reviewers, and peer reviewers do not know the authors of the papers they are reviewing.

    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. Manuscripts that pass internal editorial review will undergo external peer review by three reviewers. External review time is approximately 4 weeks. When peer reviewers are selected to review an article, they receive an email invitation to review that specific article. If the invitation is accepted, a follow-up email is sent providing a direct link to the article to be reviewed. If the invitation is declined, the next selected peer reviewer will be sent an invitation. Once the reviewer accesses the article PDF, they review the manuscript and then submit their decision recommendation, comments for the author, and confidential comments for the editor.

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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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