The top 10 journal articles This year, APA’s 89 journals published more than 4,000 articles. Here are the most downloaded to date. By Lea Winerman December 2018, Vol 49, No. 11 Print version: page 36

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1: Journal Article Reporting Standards for Qualitative Research in Psychology

This American Psychologist open-access article lays out—for the first time—journal article reporting standards for qualitative research in psychology (Levitt, H.M., et al., Vol. 73, No. 1). The voluntary guidelines are designed to help authors communicate their in. Developed by a working group of the APA Publications and Communications Board, the new standards describe what should be included in a qualitative research report, as well as in qualitative meta-analyses and mixed-methods research reports. They cover a range of qualitative traditions, methods and reporting styles. The article presents these standards and their rationale, details the ways they differ from quantitative research reporting standards and describes how they can be used by authors as well as by reviewers and editors. DOI: 10.1037/amp0000151

2: The Relationship Between Frequency of Instagram Use, Exposure to Idealized Images, and Psychological Well-Being in Women

Frequent use of the social media photo-sharing app Instagram could contribute to negative psychological outcomes in women, suggests this study in Psychology of Popular Media Culture (Sherlock, M., & Wagstaff, D.L., advance online publication). Researchers surveyed 119 women, ages 18 to 35, about their Instagram use, mental health outcomes and self-perceptions. On average, more Instagram use was correlated with more depressive symptoms, lower self-esteem, more general and physical appearance anxiety, and more body dissatisfaction. In a follow-up experiment, the researchers showed women beauty, fitness or travel images from Instagram. Participants who saw the beauty and fitness images rated their own attractiveness lower than a control group that saw no images. DOI: 10.1037/ppm0000182

3: Journal Article Reporting Standards for Quantitative Research in Psychology

This open-access article in American Psychologist lays out new journal article reporting standards for quantitative research in APA journals (Appelbaum, M., et al., Vol. 73, No. 1). The new standards are voluntary guidelines for authors and reviewers, developed by a task force of APA’s Publications and Communications Board. The recommendations include dividing the hypotheses, analyses and conclusions sections into primary, secondary and exploratory groupings to enhance understanding and reproducibility. The standards also offer modules for authors reporting on N-of-1 designs, replications, clinical trials, longitudinal studies and observational studies, structural equation modeling and Bayesian analysis. DOI: 10.1037/amp0000191

4: The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Item and Associative Recognition Memory

Sleep deprivation degrades different kinds of memory in the same way, finds this study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition (Ratcliff, R., & Van Dongen, H., Vol. 44, No. 2). Researchers assigned 26 participants to either a sleep-deprivation group or a control group. Before and after 57 hours of sleep deprivation, the participants did two memory tests in which they were shown word pairs and asked to recognize whether a word was on the pairs list (item recognition) or whether two words were studied in the same pair (associative recognition). Using a diffusion decision model, they found that sleep deprivation, unlike aging-related memory decline, reduced the quality of the information stored in memory for both tests to the same degree. DOI: 10.1037/xlm0000452

5: Do the Associations of Parenting Styles with Behavior Problems and Academic Achievement Vary by Culture?

Children with authoritative (high-warmth, high-control) parents have fewer behavior problems and better academic achievement compared with children of authoritarian (low-warmth, high-control) parents, and that association generally holds up across different countries and cultural groups, finds this meta-analysis in Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology(Pinquart, M., & Kauser, R., Vol. 24, No. 1). Researchers analyzed the results of 428 studies of parenting styles, with data on nearly 350,000 children from 52 countries. They found more similarities than differences in children’s responses to different parenting styles across ethnic groups and geographic regions. Authoritative parenting was associated with at least one positive outcome and authoritarian parenting was associated with at least one negative outcome in all regions. Overall, the association between parenting style and child outcomes was weaker in countries with more individualistic culturesDOI: 10.1037/cdp0000149

6: Social Media Behavior, Toxic Masculinity and Depression

Men who adhere to standards of “toxic masculinity” are more likely to engage in negative behaviors on social media and are also more likely to suffer from depression, and these variables are intertwined in nuanced ways, according to a study in Psychology of Men & Masculinity (Parent, M.C., et al., advance online publication). In an online survey with 402 men, ages 18 to 74, researchers measured three areas: participants’ beliefs in toxic masculinity (sexism, heterosexism and competitiveness); their symptoms of depression; and their social media behavior, such as how often they posted positive or negative comments about things they saw online. Overall, the researchers found that men who endorsed “toxic masculinity” ideals reported more negative online behaviors and that negative online behaviors were associated with depression. DOI: 10.1037/men0000156

7: Prevention of Relapse in Major Depressive Disorder With Either Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy or Cognitive Therapy

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) and cognitive therapy (CT) are equally effective ways to prevent patients from relapsing into depression, finds this article in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (Farb, N., et al., Vol. 86, No. 2). In the randomized trial, registered at, 166 patients in remission from major depressive disorder were assigned to an eight-week session of either MBCT or CT. Researchers then followed the patients for two years, checking in on their depression symptoms every three months. Overall, relapse rates did not differ between the two treatment groups (18 out of 84 patients in the CT group and 18 out of 82 in the MBCT group), nor did the average time to relapse. DOI: 10.1037/ccp0000266

8: What Do Undergraduates Learn About Human Intelligence?

Many psychology textbooks contain inaccurate and incomplete information about intelligence, finds this analysis in the open-access, open-data journal Archives of Scientific Psychology (Warne, R.T., et al., Vol. 6, No. 1). By examining 29 of the most popular introductory psychology textbooks, researchers found that 79.3 percent contained inaccurate statements in their sections about intelligence and 79.3 percent contained logical fallacies. The five most commonly taught topics were IQ (93.1 percent), Gardner’s multiple intelligences (93.1 percent), Spearman’s g (93.1 percent), Sternberg’s triarchic theory (89.7 percent) and how intelligence is measured (82.8 percent), but few texts discussed the relative lack of empirical evidence for some of these theories. The authors note the limitations of the study, including the choice of standards for accuracy and the inherent subjectivity required for some of the data collection process. DOI: 10.1037/arc0000038

9: Bullying Victimization and Student Engagement in Schools

Students at schools with less bullying and more positive atmospheres are more engaged with their schoolwork and school communities, finds this study in School Psychology Quarterly (Yang, C., et al., Vol. 33, No. 1). Researchers surveyed nearly 26,000 Delaware public school students in fourth through 12th grade about how often they had been the victims of bullying, as well as their perceptions of their schools’ climate, including teacher-student relationships, student-student relationships, fairness of rules, clarity of expectations, school safety and respect for diversity. Students also took a survey that assessed their levels of emotional and cognitive-behavioral engagement in their schools, including how happy they felt at school and how committed they were to their schoolwork. After controlling for student and school demographic factors including gender, race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status, a positive school climate was associated with higher student engagement across all gradesDOI: 10.1037/spq0000250

10: Emotion Regulation Therapy for Generalized Anxiety Disorder With and Without Co-Occurring Depression

Emotion regulation therapy (ERT) is an effective treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, with or without co-occurring major depression, finds this study in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (Mennin, D.S., et al., Vol. 86, No. 3). ERT uses principles from cognitive-behavioral therapy and affect science to teach patients to identify, accept and manage their emotions and to use this awareness to guide their thinking and behavior. Researchers assigned 53 patients with anxiety (23 of whom also had depression) to be treated with ERT or to be part of a control group awaiting treatment. After 20 weeks, patients in the treatment group showed statistically and clinically significant improvements in anxiety and depression symptoms—including functional impairment, quality of life, worry and rumination—compared with the control group. DOI: 10.1037/ccp0000289


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