I. Introduction

The APA Policy Archive contains each policy that has been archived by action of the Council of Representatives, the legislative body of APA with full power and authority over the affairs and funds of the association.

In 1960 the council voted that "All previous actions of Council that are of a continuing nature be repealed except for those statements of policy that are contained by reference in the proposed Rules of Council." Consequently, all policies adopted prior to 1960 are included in this archive.

II. Elections, Awards, Membership and Human Resources

1956

Council approved the following rule regarding awards:

In any one year an award should be given to not more than one person primarily identified with work in the same specialized topic (such as sensory, socialization, or learning); or with the same specialized material (such as animals, children, or abnormals); or with the same specialized technique (such as projective tests, mathematical models, physiological analysis); or with the same particular application (such as educational, industrial, clinical).

1965

Council voted that a biographical statement on each candidate accompany ballots for the president-elect of APA.

Note: The Guidelines for the Conduct of President-Elect Nominations and Elections provides that the candidates' statement accompanying the ballot be confined to discussions of issues facing psychology and should not exceed 1,000 words. Additionally, the APA Monitor on Psychology provides coverage of the candidates in a question and answer format.

1975

Council approved a motion that the Council apportionment ballot be revised to show individual state or division votes for coalitions; coalitions would be indicated, but votes for each unit of a coalition would then be known.

1977

1. The nomination process shall begin in December so that standing boards and committees have access to the recommendations for nominees from the Council of Representatives, divisions, state associations, and the APA Monitor solicitation when preparing slates of recommendations for the Board of Directors. All recommendations from all sources would also be included in the summary book of recommendations prepared for the Board Subcommittee on Nominations, as is presently done.

2. Each standing board and committee shall submit a slate of candidates equal to the number to appear on the ballots, plus an equal number of alternates.

3. All recommended candidates shall be rank ordered and a rationale provided for each one.

4. Boards or committees that prepare separate slates for each position shall provide the reasons for doing so.

5. The phrase "call for nominations" shall be replaced by he phrase "call for recommended candidates for election to boards and committees."

1991

Council voted to change the word limit for APA President-elect candidate's statements in the APA Monitor from 2,500 words to 1,000 words.

Note: The Guidelines for the Conduct of President-Elect Nominations and Elections provides that the candidates' statement accompanying the ballot be confined to discussions of issues facing psychology and should not exceed 1,000 words. Additionally, the APA Monitor on Psychology provides coverage of the candidates in a question and answer format.

1992

Council voted to approve a motion providing that in cases of coalitions designated on the Apportionment Ballot, the calculation of votes be based on the percentage total for the coalition cumulatively rather than for each state and division individually within the coalition, and that only after the total percentage for the coalition is calculated will the percentage be rounded. This process was initiated with the tabulation of the Apportionment Ballot for the 1993 legislative year.

1993

Council considered a motion proposing that for coalitions on the Apportionment Ballot, results be determined based on the total vote allocations for all members of the coalition rather than on the percent of total votes received by, and rounded for, each individual coalition member. On the recommendation of the Board of Directors and the Committee on Structure and Function of Council voted to approve the following, substitute motion, as amended:

That in cases of coalitions designated on the Apportionment Ballot, the calculation of votes be based on the percentage total for the coalition cumulatively rather than for each state and division individually within the coalition. That only after the total percentage for the coalition is calculated will the percentage be rounded. This process will be initiated with the tabulation of the Apportionment Ballot for the 1993 legislative year.

1996

Council voted to reimburse any of the five presidential candidates, who are not members of the current Council and who are not otherwise reimbursed for travel and expenses, up to $1,000 in accordance with APA policy to attend the Plenary Session at the February meeting of the Council of Representatives.

Note: In February 1999, Council voted to approve the following motion regarding reimbursement for presidential candidates to attend the plenary sessions of Council: That presidential candidates, who are not members of the current Council of Representatives, no longer be reimbursed for attending the plenary sessions of Council.
III. Ethics

1992

Council voted to adopt the March 11, 1992, draft of the APA ethics code, subject to amendments adopted at the August 1992 meeting of Council. Council authorized the Ethics Revision Comments Subcommittee to make any necessary technical changes, not substantive in nature, to incorporate the amendments passed by Council into the code.

Note: Council approved a new version of the Ethics Code in August 2002.

IV. Board of Directors

2004

Council shall review and update its list of priorities at least every 3 years; 2) the Committee on Structure and Function of Council will recommend to Council a process for developing, reviewing and updating these priorities; 4) the latest list of the top priorities shall be included in each year’s Council agenda book; 5) new business item forms will include the list of these priorities so that the maker of a motion may identify the applicable priority/priorities to which the item is addressed or specify other issues to which it is speaking.

V. Divisions and State, Provincial and Territorial Associations
No archived policies.
VI. Organization of the APA

1992

Council reviewed several proposals for reinstating the Council break-out groups and voted to adopt the following substitute motion proposed by the Board of Directors:

"At the discretion of the President, in consultation with the Board of Directors, break-out groups may be scheduled but should not be made routine procedure."

Note: New policies for breakouts groups were approved in 2004.

1993

On the recommendation of the Board of Directors and the Committee on Structure and Function of Council, Council voted to have each APA directorate provide a written report twice annually of its major issues and activities for inclusion as discussion items in the Council of Representatives agendas and to have the executive directors of the directorates present at Council meetings to answer any questions Council members may have about the reports.

Note: The current practice is for the executive directors of the directorates to submit written reports at the time of each Council meeting. The reports are called "Central Office Reports to Council" and they are posted on the governance website, with a notification to Council regarding their posting.

1996

The current method of selecting and seating regular Council members will remain unchanged; and

The APA will provide expense reimbursement for all traditionally elected and seated council members as at present, and on the same basis for one liaison/observer from any division or state not directly represented on Council (as a division, state or coalition representative);

The APA President be encouraged to give liaison/observers the same opportunity to speak on the floor of Council as regularly seated members;

This proposal will remain in force for a maximum of two years from August 1995. During this period the Committee on Structure and Function of council will evaluate the effects of the participation of the liaison/observers.

1997

Council also voted to approve the following resolution regarding increasing ethnic minority representation on Council and requested that it be included with the Bylaw ballot and Monitor article regarding the proposed Bylaw changes:

Opportunity for Council to Increase Ethnic Minority Representation

WHEREAS Council has acknowledged the under representation of ethnic minority persons among the representatives of Council;

WHEREAS The just passed resolution on allocation of seats on the Council of Representatives creates an opportunity to further diversify the representation on Council; and

WHEREAS The Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA) recommended to the Task Force that some of the new seats in the "Wild Card" plan be used to increase the diversity of Council;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED

It is the sense of Council that the change in allocation of seats on the Council offers divisions and state and provincial associations an unprecedented opportunity to effect change. To that end, Council recommends: (a) that those previously unrepresented state and provincial psychological associations and divisions that receive a seat to be encouraged to fill the seat with an ethnic minority person, and (b) those state and provincial psychological associations and divisions with existing seats be encouraged to fill the additional seat with an ethnic minority representative.

Note: Current policy reimburses those divisions and state/provincial/territorial associations for expenses incurred by representatives who are ethnic minorities for their attendance at the February and August Council meetings. This policy was adopted by Council in August 2001 and covered ethnic minority representatives serving through 2004. In July 2004, Council extended the policy to cover ethnic minority representatives serving through 2007.
VII. Publications and Communications

1949

Management of the Association's Journals

(a) The Association should consider itself obligated to ensure the opportunity for publication in every major area of the field of psychology.

(b) It is unnecessary and undesirable, however, that all publication outlets be controlled by the Association.

(c) As long as any subdivision of the general field is adequately represented by an independent journal, the Association should not attempt to take over or duplicate the functions of this vehicle.

(d) While all major areas of psychology should be represented within the Association's program or outside of it, the Association is not obligated to provide means for publishing the total output of the membership.

1970

The Psychological Bulletin publishes evaluative reviews of the research literature in psychology. It includes reviews and interpretations of substantive and methodological issues. This journal publishes reports of original research only when these reports are used to illustrate some methodological problem or issue. Methodological issues discussed in the journal should be aimed at the solution of some particular research problem in psychology, but these issues should be of sufficient breadth of interest a wide readership among psychologists. Articles of a more specialized nature should appear in the various statistical, psychometric, and methodological journals. This journal does not publish original theoretical articles. Such articles should be submitted to the Psychological Review.

VIII. Convention Affairs

1977

Council voted that a child care facility be provided as a regular convention service, with APA's paying the unavoidable costs, but that no hourly fees be charged to students registered at the convention or to other convention registrants with annual family incomes under $10,000. (Hourly rates for others will be according to a sliding scale based on annual family income.)

Note: The discontinuation of a child care facility was approved when Council "voted to approve a package of recommended changes as part of the 1999 Preliminary Budget." during its August 13 and 16, 1998 meeting.

1990

Council voted to approve the following resolution concerning student attendance at the convention:

"That the Board of Convention Affairs develop procedures to reduce expenses for students to attend the APA annual meeting. These procedures should include but not be limited to:

1. procurement of low-cost housing (e.g., university dormitories, hotels, Y's etc.)

2. procurement of low-cost meals (e.g., package housing and meal arrangements through universities, hotels, Y's, etc.)

3. procurement of low-cost transportation packages including bus, train, and air specifically for students."

Note: Since its establishment as a continuing committee, which focuses specifically on student affairs, APAGS has taken on the responsibility of providing cost-saving information to students interested in attending the APA convention.
IX. Educational Affairs

1954

It is the responsibility of any university offering a doctoral program designed to prepare students to assume professional psychological duties to arrange that each doctoral candidate in clinical or counseling will receive adequate supervised practical experience as an integral part of that program. At the present time the E&T Board adopts the following accreditation standards as desirable for the implementation of this principle.

1. A supervised predoctoral internship of not less than one academic year preceded by one or more clerkships.

2. A continuing contact between the university and the interning agency during the doctoral candidate's intern period.

Note: This policy has been superseded by the Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation of Programs in Professional Psychology, which was adopted by Council in August 1995, amended February 1999.

1954

In every case in which a graduate assistantship, scholarship, or fellowship for the next academic year is offered to an actual or prospective graduate student, the student, if he indicates his acceptance before April 15, will still have complete freedom through April 15 to reconsider his acceptance and to accept another fellowship, scholarship, or graduate assistantship. He has committed himself, however, not to resign an appointment after this date unless he is formally released from it.

Note: The language of the policy is outdated and policy is superseded by policies instituted by COGDOP and the Council of Graduate Schools, which are published in APA’s publication, Graduate Study in Psychology.

1961

Although the full year internship in a clinical facility is still considered to be the preferred pattern in most doctoral programs in clinical psychology, a number of universities are experimenting with patterns of part time practicum experience in a variety of settings, spread over two or more years. The Education and Training Board recommends that fund granting agencies supporting graduate programs adapt their award stipends to facilitate such experimentation in practicum training.

Note: Language was determined to be out-of-date.

1978

The procedures and criteria of the Committee on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association require nondiscrimination with respect to religious orientation in faculty hiring and admission of students as a condition of program approval. In the application of this general principle, exceptions with respect to religion may be made in the case of institutions controlled by religious groups, provided that any preferences in student admissions or faculty hiring on religious grounds are explicit and publicly stated.

When an institution meets the requirements for such an exception, the accrediting body should formally record its opinion on whether and in what specific ways training provided by the institution is deficient because of its religious proscriptions and shall refuse accreditation if these deficiencies are judged to be substantial and severe.

Note: Amended in 1980.

1979

It is the sense of APA Council that APA accreditation reflect our concern that all psychology departments and schools should assure that their students receive preparation to function in a multi cultural, multi racial society. This implies having systematic exposure to and contact with a diversity of students, teachers, and patients or clients, such as, for example, by special arrangement for interchange or contact with other institutions on a regular and organized basis.

Note: This policy has been superseded by the Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation of Programs in Professional Psychology, which was adopted by Council in August 1995, amended February 1999.

1979

It is the intent of the resolution that students in part time programs will be required to meet education and training requirements consistent with APA accreditation criteria and Standards for Providers of Psychological Services.

Note: This policy has been superseded by the Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation of Programs in Professional Psychology, which was adopted by Council in August 1995, amended February 1999.

1980

The procedures and criteria of the Committee on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association require nondiscrimination with respect to religious orientation in faculty hiring and admission of students as a condition of program approval. In the application of this general principle, however, exceptions with respect to religion may be made in the case of institutions controlled by religious groups, providing that any preferences in student admissions or faculty hiring on religious grounds are explicit and publicly stated.

When an institution applies for an exception, said institution shall document the procedures by which it ensures that the practice of discrimination in the selection of faculty and students and/or the required allegiance to a creedal oath does not adversely affect currently accepted principles of academic freedom, faculty and student rights, and quality of training, teaching, and research. Such documentation shall incorporate procedures for due process and should demonstrate sensitivity to individual rights.

Note: This policy has been superseded by the Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation of Programs in Professional Psychology, which was adopted by Council in August 1995, amended February 1999.

1981

Psychology is a broadly diverse field that has been rcognized as a scientific discipline since the 1870s. Its content ranges from social science topics akin to sociology and anthropology to natural science foci related to biology and physiology. The thread uniting the filed has two strands: a concern with behavior and reliance on empirical and evidential methods.

Accordingly, all secondary school teachers of psychology should have a firm and broad grounding of the empirically based principles of behavior and a thorough grasp of the evidential approach to the study of behavior. Appropriate preparation for secondary school teachers of psychology is a plan of study offered at an accredited college or university. Because those seeking certification as secondary school teachers of psychology may have followed different educational paths, alternative plans to obtain certification in this area are proposed.

Recommended Courses of Study Leading to Certification
Plan A

This plan would consist of a coherent set of courses that provides systematic study in the areas* of general psycholog, experimental psychology, social psychologiy, physiological psychology, personality, and history of psychology. It would also include courses on methods of invetigation that focus on research design, statistics, and assessment and evaluation of the individual. Students who have successfully completed such a set of courses would have adequate depth and breadth of training in psychology to permit them to function as competent teachers of psychology at the secondary school level.

* It is not the intent of the APA to recommend specific courses carrying these titles. Rather, these guidelines are designed to assist teacher training institutions and state certification agencies in identifying areas of study that will give secondary school psychology teachers a thorough and broad preparation in with the content and the methods of psychology.

Plan B

In recent years, colleges and universityies have experimented with curriculum designs that differ from the more traditional approach to Plan A. An alternative route to certification must be provided for students in these programs, who by virtue of different course titles, interdepartmental courses, and the like, would not have the same areas of study. These candidates should qualify for certfication, provided they show training equivalent to Plan A on an area-by-area basis.

Plan C

Candidates who do not qualify under Plans A and B may be certified by demonstration of competence and knowledge equivalent to that indicated in Plan A as appraised through a specific plan such as the following: (a) examinatin aranged through a psychology department of an accredited college or university or (b) standardized test in psychology (e.g., GRE Advanced test in Psychology) pased at a level acceptable to the psychology department of an accreditited college or university.

Comment

These guidelines offer a model plan of study that is likey to provide candidates for certification with sufficient knowledge of psychology to teach in the secondary school. They also signal that a haphazard collection of introductory psychology, psychological foundations of education, mental health, and social studies methods courses does not in itself assure sufficient depth and breadth of background for a secondary school teacher of psychology.

Because student interest tends to be high in areas such as psychopathology, developmental psychology, and counseling psychology, secondary school teachers of psychology should be urged to seek additional study in these areas, but primary concern, and certification requirements, should remain focused on the basic content and methods of the field. Additional courses in such areas as psychopathology, developmental psychology, and counseling psychology will not necessarily give the teacher any technical competence to function as a professional psychological counselor to students, other teachers, or parents. Persons with the training outlined in Plan A (or its equivalent) would be competent only as classroom teachers dealing with the subject matter of psychology.

All secondary school teachers, regardless of their field need courses in areas of study that will help them be sensitive to the needs of adolescents. These courses should be considered part of the professional preparation of all teachers and not part of the specialty training of secondary school teachers of psychology.

There are many different way to organize the content of secondary school psychology courses. For example, some experts recommend presenting psychology as a subject-matter field, much like biology, physics, or anthropology. Others, with equally compelling reasons, would organize the course content around concepts of human development, particulary adolescent psychology. Both foci represent appropriate ways of presenting the subject matter of the field, depending on the needs of the particular school and curriculum in which the course will be offered. These and other options make it difficult to set specific guidelines for the classification of psychology in the secondary school as a social science, natural science or behavioral science. Teacher trainers and certification officers should be guided in decisions about classification by consultation with appropriate groups, such as faculty of psychology departments at colleges and universities in the state. Regardless of the classification, however, all secondary school teachers of psychology should have a thorough and broad preparation in both the content and the methods of psychology.

The American Psychological Association endorses the idea that a well-constructed methods course in the candidate’s intended teaching field is a necessary part of the professional preparation of secondary school teachers. The course should prepare teachers to set forth clear educational objectives for students and identify appropriate teaching methods to attain these objectives.

Recommended for Implementation

Although there are currently many thousands of of secondary school teachers of psychology, relatively few of them teach psychology full-time because the demand for fill-time psychology teachers is small, and it may well remain small for some years to come. Thus, training and certification in psychology alone is not realistic or practical in most cases. However, the American Psychological Association wishes to recommend the following to Secondary School State Certification Boards in order to implement Plans A, B, or C as described in these guidelines:

Regardless of the field in which a teacher is certified (e.g., social/behavioral sciences or natural sciences), a separate endorsement with specific requirements in psychology should be added to the existing certificate.

Under this recommendation, secondary school teachers of psychology would be fully prepared and certified to teach some other specialty as well psychology.

In addition, these guidelines are intended to apply to the training and certification of any teacher of psychology in any secondary school, with regard to the fraction of time spent teaching psychology.

1984

Council urges APA members who owe debts on educational loans to recognize their moral obligation to repay these loans in a timely fashion.

Note: A valid policy, but nonetheless not needed in the Council Policy Manual.

1985

In compliance with the Provisions of Recognition and Guidelines on Interagency Cooperation on Accreditation set forth by the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation (COPA), the American Psychological Association hereby authorizes its Committee on Accreditation to cooperate as feasible with other COPA-recognized accrediting agencies in the conduct of on-site evaluations, when invited to do so by the host institution and when participating accrediting agencies have substantive interests in common.

Note: This policy has been superseded by Policies for Accreditation Governance, which was adopted by Council in August 1991, amended February 1996.

1985

Policy on undergraduate curriculum in psychology

The four year baccalaureate program in psychology is fundamentally a liberal arts curriculum. Neither vocational nor preprofessional training should be a primary goal of undergraduate education in psychology. This position is consistent with the finding of the 1961 Michigan Conference, chaired by W.J. McKeachie and John E. Milholland, which concluded that 'a basically liberal arts curriculum is best for students who plan to go on to professional training, to graduate work in psychology, or directly into a vocation.' The American Psychological Association should not prescribe specific course requirements for the undergraduate major in psychology. Such an action would seriously intrude upon the academic freedom of departments and faculty members.

However, it is agreed that APA should continue to monitor undergraduate education in psychology by means of periodic surveys. By this means APA and its Committee on undergraduate Education in Psychology can continue to weigh the possibility of developing guidelines or models for the curriculum.

1986

Guidelines for Conditions of Employment for Psychologists (PDF, 249KB)

1988

Council voted to reaffirm the APA policy concerning halftime internships listed in the APA Criteria for Accreditation. Council also voted to approve the following resolution:

Many graduate school students and professional school students who are new parents or who must work part time require greater flexibility from internship centers.

APA encourages internship centers to adapt their programs to the changing needs of selected students and not to discriminate against them; APA encourages internship centers to give consideration to these special cases.

Note: This policy has been superseded by the Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation of Programs in Professional Psychology, which was adopted by Council in August 1995, amended February 1999.

1989

Council voted to adopt the "Memorandum of Understanding between APA and the Canadian Psychological Association for Concurrent Accreditation of Doctoral Training Programs and Predoctoral Internship Training Programs in Professional Psychology" as a policy document for APA.

Note: This policy has been superseded by the APA/CPA Memorandum of Understanding, which was adopted by Council in August 2002.

1990

Council voted to approve the revised APA "Accreditation Procedures”. This action brings the APA Accreditation Procedures into compliance with the policies and procedures of the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation.

Note: This policy has been superseded by the Accreditation Operating Procedures, which was adopted by Council in August 1995, amended February 1999.

1990

Resolved, that the criteria and procedures for APA approval of sponsors of continuing education for psychologists be revised to permit credit for programs of one hour or more in duration. This change shall be effective upon passage.

Note: This policy has been superseded by the Criteria and Procedures Manual of the APA Sponsor Approval System (November 1996).

1991

Ethical Guidelines for the Teaching of Psychology in the Secondary Schools (PDF, 922.4KB)

1993

Council approved the following criteria which pertain to continuing education offerings through or by an APA-approved sponsor’s branches or subsidiaries and wishes to offer APA-approved CE credit through the branch or subsidiary, complete oversight and administration of the program must come through the parent, or approved, organization. The approved sponsor must be involved fully in the planning and implementation of CE programs and must assume full responsibility for these programs.

If the above conditions do not apply, the branch or subsidiary must submit a separate application to APA for approval as a continuing education sponsor or must establish a co-sponsor relationship with parent, or approved, organization.

Note: This policy has been superseded by the Criteria and Procedures Manual of the APA Sponsor Approval System (November 1996).

1994

On the recommendation of the Board of Directors and the Board of Educational Affairs, Council approved a motion proposing that the Board of Directors and Council direct increased efforts and resources toward ongoing APA CE efforts to develop longer-term training modules and to be responsive to the education and training needs of practicing psychologists.

Note: This was determined to be an administrative directive rather than a policy.

1994

In accordance with existing Committee of Accreditation policy that all interns should receive appropriate stipends and that all internships can be full or half time, Council reaffirms the existing APA policy on half time internships by acknowledging, supporting and facilitating compliance with and implementation of this policy.

In addition, in the geographic areas where there is a shortage of half time internships, Council encourages the development of half time opportunities to meet such needs.

Note: This policy has been superseded by the Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation of Programs in Professional Psychology, which was adopted by Council in August 1995, amended February 1999.

2002

Memorandum of Understanding between the APA and CPA for Concurrent Accreditation of Doctoral Training Programs and Predoctoral Internship Training Programs in Professional Psychology (PDF, 20.4KB)

2005

National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula (PDF, 826KB)

X. Professional Affairs

1980

Compared to its predecessors, and as a generic document, DSM-III represents progress in diagnostic procedure.

However, despite substantive advances in the 'state of the art' of psychopathologic diagnosis, troublesome issues remain. Specifically, some of these issues relate to (1) conceptual obscurity and/or confusion, (2) a questionable broadening of the range and scope of categories classified as mental disorder, (3) use of a 'categorical' rather than 'dimensional' model, and (4) poor applicability to disorders in children. The whole area of diagnostic nomenclature is deserving of further study and research.

The inclusion of several new areas recognizing social and environmental influences on behavior and of a broader empirical data base with consequential increased objectivity and reliability make DSM-III more valuable than the DSM-I and DSM-II for treatment, training, and research.

Note: DSM III is the predecessor version of the current DSM IV. It has been superseded and the policy should be archived.

1985

The welfare of the public is best served when the diagnostic processes are used by mental health specialists trained and qualified in mental health diagnosis and/or diagnostic processes concerning mental states. Additionally, the development of consensus within APA is most likely to occur when, prior to APA's adoption of broad and complex policy positions, formal consultation with appropriate governance units occurs. Finally, be it resolved that APA adopt the policy that useful diagnostic nomenclature must be (a) supported by empirical data, (b) based on broadly representative data, and (c) carefully analyzed.

Note: DSM III is the predecessor version of the current DSM IV. It has been superseded and the policy should be archived.

1986

WHEREAS: The American Psychiatric Association is proposing a revision of the DSM-III with no collaboration and little input from APA and other mental health organizations; and

WHEREAS: The American Psychiatric Association previously utilized the benefits of research supported, in part, by taxpayers funds, some of which was research conducted by psychologists and other behavioral scientists and thus becomes information within the public domain; and

WHEREAS: The American Psychiatric Association has developed three new, controversial diagnoses for a special appendix (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder now called Periluteal Phase Disorder, Masochistic Personality Disorder now called Self-Defeating Personality Disorder, and Sadistic Personality Disorder) without presenting any adequate scientific basis and which are potentially dangerous to women;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED: The American Psychological Association is opposed to the inclusion of these diagnoses, even within an appendix section, and urges its members not to use such diagnoses, and

The Executive Officer of the APA is to inform the American Psychiatric Association of this action and broadly disseminate it to all appropriate governmental agencies, other mental health and relevant health organizations, and the general public.

Note: DSM III is the predecessor version of the current DSM IV. It has been superceded and the policy should be archived.

1986

On Drug and Alcohol Treatment as Sub-issues of 'Substance Abuse'

Alcohol and drug abuse are part of a broad generic syndrome identified as substance abuse. Clinical experience suggests that the likelihood of successful intervention is enhanced if each case is considered individually.

1986

The employment of behavioral techniques or drugs which have an aversive effect is among the currently accepted strategies for treating alcoholism. The use of such techniques requires the informed consent of the client or guardian. Such techniques may be appropriate when the client is in serious physical or psychological danger, or is a threat to others. Use of noxious or aversive stimuli must include every reasonable precaution to assure the safety, protection, and physical and emotional integrity of the client.

1987

Council voted to approve as APA policy the revision of the 1977 Standards for Providers of Psychological Services renamed General guidelines for providers of psychological services (PDF, 712KB).

1989

WHEREAS, the Association for the Severely Handicapped (TASH) has taken the position that persons diagnosed as having mental retardation plus mental illness ("dual diagnosed") should be so diagnosed only in conjunction with a medical evaluation given by a qualified psychiatrist, and

WHEREAS, the standards for diagnoses of mental illness for persons who also have mental retardation should be as stringent as for persons who are not handicapped, and

WHEREAS, psychologists are prominent in the research on the causes and prevention of both major conditions, are leaders in the area of diagnosis and treatment of both major conditions, and lead in the efforts to increase mental health services for all persons with mental retardation.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the American Psychological Association go on record as supporting Division 33 (Mental Retardation) against the efforts of TASH by reaffirming psychology's traditional role in diagnosis, assessment, training and treatment in both the Mental Health and Mental Retardation fields.

1995

On the recommendation of the Board of Directors and the Board of Professional Affairs, Council voted to approve the "Criteria for Guideline Development and Review," with the exception of the highlighted text shown in draft 2.3cl of the document.

Note: Replaced by Criteria for Practice Guideline Development and Evaluation (2001).

1996

Council voted to approve the following substitute motion regarding the Bill of Rights for Patients Undergoing Mental Health Treatment:

Council strongly and in principle endorses and encourages continuing consultation between the leadership of APA and leaders of other professional mental health associations in the formulation of a bill of rights for patients or clients receiving mental health treatment. The Board of Directors will have oversight authority of the bill of rights. [The Principles for the Provision of Mental Health Services and Substance Abuse Treatment Services were subsequently agreed upon.]

Note: This task has been completed and therefore the policy may be archived.

1998

APA Activities Bearing on Licensure Challenges

1. Encouragement and assistance to State Psychological Associations (SPAs) and state licensing boards to move to single level doctoral licensure

2. Active consulting to SPAs in states that have dual level licensure

3. Encourage the recognition of individuals holding terminal masters degrees in psychology under existing state statutes, provided that such statutes do not recognize, regulate or govern the title or practice of psychology.

4. Convening exploratory meetings focusing on issues involving education, training and credentialing, at the Consolidated meetings with the Board of Directors, Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice, Board of Professional Affairs, Board of Educational Affairs, American Psychological Association of Graduate Students, the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards and other relevant groups.

XI. Scientific Affairs

1966 (Amended 1967)

Council voted to adopt the following statement on "Automated Test Scoring and Interpretation Practices" as a standard for members of the APA and for organizations by whom members are employed:

The advent of sophisticated computer technology and recent psychological research has made it feasible and desirable for consulting and service organizations to offer computer-based scoring and interpretation services for diverse psychological measurement instruments. Since these services will be rendered to clients with varying degrees of training in psychological measurement and since improper use of such interpretations could be detrimental to the well-being of individuals, it is considered proper for the American Psychological Association to establish various conditions which must be met before such services should be offered to clients.

Any organization offering the services described above should, in order to protect the public welfare, have on its staff or as an active consultant (a) in a state having legal certification or licensure, a psychologist qualified to practice under the laws of that state, (b) in a state having nonstatutory certification, a psychologist holding the highest ranked certificate in that state, or (c) in jurisdictions having neither of the above a Diplomate of the American Board of Examiners in Professional Psychology.

Such services will be offered only to individuals or organizations for use under the active supervision of qualified professional personnel with appropriate training. The qualified person must be either a staff member or a responsible, active consultant to the individual or organization receiving such services.

Organizations offering scoring services must maintain an active quality control program to assure the accuracy and correctness of all reported scores.

Organizations offering interpretation services must be able to demonstrate that the computer programs, or algorithms on which the interpretations rest, are based on appropriate research to establish the validity of the programs and procedures used in arriving at interpretations.

The public offering of an automated test interpretation service will be considered as a professional-to-professional consultation. In this the formal responsibility of the consultant is to the consultee but his ultimate and overriding responsibility is to the client.

The organization offering services is responsible that their reports adequately interpret the test materials. They should not misinterpret nor overinterpret the data nor omit important interpretations that the consultee would reasonably expect to be included.

The organization offering services is responsible that their report be interpretable by the consultee. The technical level of the report should be understandable and not misleading to the consultee. The professional consultee is responsible for integrating the report into his client relationship. Where technical interpretations could be misleading, the organization offering service would be responsible either not to accept the referral, to modify the form of their report, or to avoid otherwise its misinterpretation.

Note: Out of date.

1977

Guidelines for the Use of Human Participants in Research or Demonstrations Conducted by High School Students

High school students planning to use human participants in research or demonstrations are urged to become thoroughly acquainted with the American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles in the Conduct of Research with Human Participants. The potential problems of such research may not be immediately evident to those doing research for the first time. Among specific guidelines for the use of human participants in research or demonstrations conducted by high school students are the following:

  • All research and demonstrations involving human participants should be properly supervised by a qualified school authority.

    The supervisor should assume the primary responsibility for all conditions of the experiment. The following requirements should be fulfilled:

    • The supervisor should be familiar with the relevant literature concerning previous work done in the student's chosen area. When possible, the student should also review and summarize appropriate reading material.

    • A written preliminary outline of the student's plan of study, to include a statement of possible outcomes of the project and a description of how the student plans to accomplish the objective of the study, should be submitted and be available for the evaluation by relevant school authorities. Such an outline should include the general and specific purposes of the research or demonstration and a justification of the methods to be employed.

  • Participants should not be exposed to physical or mental risk.

    High school students should not undertake procedures involving human participants that are likely to harm the participants. Participants should not be subjected to any risks greater than the ordinary risks of daily life. To assure compliance with this guideline, high schools are encouraged to form student-faculty committees that examine all research or demonstration proposals from the point of view of the APA's Ethical Principles in the Conduct of Research with Human Participants , to assure that risks do not exceed the ordinary risks of daily life. Such committees might be constituted at the classroom level, across classes, at the department level, or school-wide.

  • Agreement to participate should be obtained from all participants.

    The individual conducting the project should obtain each participant's agreement to participate, based on a full understanding of what that agreement implies. Obtaining agreement involves providing a full explanation of the research or demonstration procedures with special emphasis on aspects of the project likely to affect willingness to participate. All questions asked by any prospective participant should be answered directly, honestly, and completely. Participants who are too young or for other reasons cannot comprehend the project should be excluded, or proxy consent should be obtained from parents or guardians; the principle also applies to the siblings of the person conducting the project. A clear and fair agreement that clarifies the responsibilities of both should exist between the individual conducting the project and the participant. All promises and commitments included in that agreement should be honored by the person conducting the project. Such a formal agreement may not be necessary in some studies of public behavior, but in such studies it is especially crucial the participants' rights not be infringed.

  • Participants should have the right to refuse to participate.

    Potential research participants have the right to refuse to participate and the right to withdraw from participation, for cause, at any time during the course of the research or demonstration procedures. The person conducting the project should explain this right to all potential participants prior to the commencement of the research or demonstration procedures. The person conducting the project should also provide opportunity for withdrawal with minimum discomfort during participation, particularly if a group activity is involved.

    Protection of this right requires special vigilance when the individual conducting the project is in a position of influence over the participant. For example, students in lower grades than the person conducting the project should not be pressured into participating and should not be publicly identified if they decline to participate in a particular experiment, survey or demonstration. Under no circumstances should potential participants be exposed to ridicule, force, or excessive group pressure.

  • The student should deal with possible undesirable consequences for participants.

    The supervisor should discuss with the student possible undesirable consequences of the project that should result in at least a temporary halt in the project. In the event that unanticipated undesirable consequences are detected by the individual conducting the project, he or she should halt the project if it is still in progress and notify the supervisor or other appropriate school authorities.

  • The anonymity of the information gathered should be preserved.

    In certain projects, a participant may not wish the person conducting the project to disclose the results of the study in a way that individually identifies the participant. Only with the participant's full agreement can the person conducting the project disclose identifiable information about that participant to any other individual. A plan for protecting the anonymity of the information gathered should be a part of the procedure for obtaining initial agreement to participate. The person conducting the project should make every effort to maintain anonymity, but participants should be made aware that in some cases it may be difficult or impossible to maintain full anonymity about all of the information obtained. Formal agreement to participate may not be necessary in some studies of public behavior, but preservation of anonymity is as important in the observation of public behavior as it is in other research or demonstrations. In public situations, information should not be collected in such a way that individuals are identifiable.

It is suggested that persons conducting projects encourage potential participants to read these guidelines. To ensure a careful reading and adequate understanding of these guidelines, persons conducting projects may wish participants to sign a statement such as that below.

I have read the Guidelines for the Use of Human Participants in Research or Demonstration Conducted by High School Students. I have received satisfactory answers to my questions concerning this research or demonstration. I understand that every effort will be made to protect the anonymity of my responses although it cannot be guaranteed. I understand that I may withdraw from this research or demonstration without penalty at any time.

Name
Signature
Date

1979

Council voted to accept the Final Report of the Committee on Psychological Tests and Assessment to the Council on the Use of Tests with Members of Minority Groups and the Disadvantaged.

Note: The report has been superceded by pertinent sections of Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (1999) American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, National Council on Measurement in Education.

1981

On the recommendation of the Board of Scientific Affairs, the Education and Training Board, and the Board of Directors, Council voted to adopt the revised "Guidelines for the Use of Animals in School Science Behavior Projects".

Note: Out of date.

1987

Guidelines for the Use of Drugs in Research by Psychologists (PDF, 41.5KB)

1990

On the recommendation of the Board of Directors, Board of Scientific Affairs and the Committee on Animal Research and Ethics, Council voted to endorse the American Association for the Advancement of Science Resolution on the Use of Animals in Research, Testing, and Education.

Note: Out of date.

1993

On the recommendation of the Board of Directors, the Board of Scientific Affairs, and the Committee on Animal Research and Ethics, Council approved the revised Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in the Care and Use of Animals, as amended to reflect Council's concern for cold-blooded as well as warm-blooded laboratory animals.

Note: Out of date.

1996

Statement on the Disclosure of Test Data (PDF, 140.5KB)

1998

Council voted to adopt the Committee on Animal Research and Ethics' (CARE's) Guidelines for the Use of Animals in Behavioral Projects in Schools.

Note: Out of date.
XII. Public Interest

1956

Psychology as a science is dedicated to the discovery of truth. Psychology as a profession is dedicated to the application of that scientific knowledge in the interests of human welfare. The American Psychological Association will, therefore, take an active position on any public policy or issue which jeopardizes these fundamental scientific and professional goals.

In areas other than the above, it is not the function of the American Psychological Association to attempt to influence the formulation of public policy. However, it may be appropriate for the Association to take a position with respect to such policy when it is being formally determined or implemented, where the criterion for action is the special competence of psychology as a science and a profession.

Note: Out of date.

1965

Council voted the following resolution:

The Council of Representatives of the American Psychological Association is gratified by the passage of Public Law No. 89-97 calling for one or more studies of the mental health of children. It believes that many grave national problems, such as crime and delinquency, mental disorders, and social incompetence among adults, may be most effectively dealt with by early identification and intervention in years of childhood and adolescence. It sees the problem as involving a wide range of social agencies--educational, medical, correctional, and welfare--as well as a number of lay groups concerned with human development. It applauds the initiative of the American Psychiatric Association in establishing the Joint Commission on Mental Health of Children. It approves the participation of the American Psychological Association on the Commission on the basis of equal representation on its governing body of the range of organizations that have been actively concerned with the mental health of children (Newman, 1965).

Note: Out of date and replaced by the APA Resolution on Children’s Mental Health.

1972

Council voted the following resolution:

BE IT RESOLVED that the American Psychological Association call upon President Nixon to reaffirm the national commitment to early child development, as stated by him in April 1969, and to implement the resolution of the White House Conference on Children calling for the permanent establishment of the Office of Child Development; and, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the American Psychological Association call upon the President and members of Congress to support programs of comprehensive child development.

Note: Out of date.

1974

Recognizing that the psychological and moral burdens imposed on U.S. citizens by the war in Indochina -- confronting them with profound divisions within their society, with anguish about the morality of actions taken in their names, with distrust of their national leadership, and with doubts about the justification for the sacrifices imposed upon them - weighed most heavily on the young men who were called upon to participate personally in the fighting in Indochina;

That the usual difficulty experienced by the veteran in the process of transition from military to civilian life, due to psychological traumata and other reasons, "had been markedly greater for the Vietnam veteran because of the controversial nature of the Vietnamese conflict and the rapid social-economic changes that occurred during his absence";

That "studies conducted by the military and the Veterans Administration indicate that serious and prolonged readjustment problems exist in approximately one out of five new veterans, but to a lesser degree, were experienced by all";

That Vietnam veterans as a group and their families have been receiving insufficient moral, psychological, and emotional support to enable them to come to terms with their experiences, to find employment, and to prepare themselves for the future;

And that many thousands of men who, for reasons of conscience, resisted the draft, or disobeyed military orders, or deserted, are now facing psychological problems associated with separation from their families, exclusion from their societies, and stigmatization as lawbreakers,

  • The Council of Representatives of the American Psychological Association endorses legislative and executive action leading to:

1. Increased benefits for Vietnam veterans and improvements in the administration of such benefits, in order to assure that the educational, occupational, medical, and psychological needs of these men are adequately met, with real-dollar benefits at levels at least as high as those extended to World War II veterans;

2. A broadened definition of Service-related disabilities, which would give veterans the opportunity, on a wholly voluntary basis, to obtain treatment for psychological problems that do not require hospitalization or that manifest themselves only some time after their return home, and to obtain treatment for members of their families who play a significant role in their readjustment;

3. Freedom of choice for Vietnam veterans in contracting for psychological treatment, allowing them - whether they are still in service or out of service - the option of receiving payment for such treatment by civilian practitioners of their own choosing, if they feel that their needs cannot be adequately met by mental health personnel working within the military or the Veterans Administration; and

4. Active participation of Vietnam era veterans in developing and running the programs designed to serve their needs.

  • Council urges APA divisions and state and local psychological associations to establish registers of appropriately qualified psychologists whose skills in therapy, counseling, group leadership, or other psychological services might be useful in the rehabilitation of Vietnam veterans and war resisters, and who are prepared to devote some portion of their time to work with these men and their families, free of charge or at reduced rates. Such registers should be forwarded to Central Office so that they might be maintained centrally. Psychologists should be urged to participate in these programs, indicating both their skills and their time limitations, with the understanding that the existence of the resisters will be publicized among prospective clients and that inquiries by such clients would periodically be referred to them.

  • Council requests that the Board of Social and Ethical Responsibility for Psychology generate recommendations for just and humane policies designed to ease the psychological problems faced by war resisters and to help them reestablish themselves within the society.

  • Council urges relevant divisions, boards, and committees within APA to develop mechanisms and provide occasions for discussing and analyzing the psychological and moral implications of the Vietnam War and its effects on the American population and particularly on the generation most directly confronted with it.

  • Council requests that the APA Central Office and relevant boards and committees take active steps to promote and support legislative and executive actions, as well as activities within the profession, designed to implement the above proposals. (1974)

*Quotations taken from a memorandum from the Department of Medicine and Surgery of the Veterans Administration, reproduced in part in the Congressional Record of October 12, 1973.

Note: Out of date.

1978

Council voted strongly to endorse the United Nations International Year of the Child and actively to encourage the establishment of a National Commission for the International Year of the Child; further, the Council instructs APA's Representatives to the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPS) to request that the 1978 Assembly of the IUPS to endorse and encourage its member societies to support to the fullest extent possible the objectives and activities with the International Year of the Child (Conger, 1978).

Note: Out of date.

1984

Council adopted the following resolution: The recent International Conference on Psychological Abuse of Children and Youth has presented information that the incidence and prevalence of such acts are so high that concerned individuals need to organize to coordinate necessary efforts in definition, prevention, treatment, and research. The American Psychological Association recognizes the importance of this issue, and to this end invites relevant boards, committees, and divisions/states to explore the major issues of definition, prevention, treatment, and research, and to prepare brief position papers with supporting data, to be forwarded to the Board of Social and Ethical Responsibility for Psychology for consolidation and submission to the Council's January 1985 session.

Note: Out of date.

1985

WHEREAS, the great majority of research studies have found a relationship between televised violence and behaving aggressively, and

WHEREAS, the conclusion drawn on the basis of 25 years of research and a sizable number of experimental and field investigations (NIMH, 1972, 1982) is that viewing televised violence may lead to increases in aggressive attitudes, values, and behavior, particularly in children, and

WHEREAS, many children's programs contain some form of violence,

BE IT RESOLVED that the American Psychological Association (1) encourages parents to monitor and to control television viewing by children; (2) requests industry representatives to take a responsible attitude in reducing direct imitable violence on 'real life' fictional children's programming or violent incidents on cartoons, and in providing more programming for children designed to mitigate possible effects of television violence, consistent with the guarantees of the First Amendment; and (3) urges industry, government, and private foundations to support relevant research activities aimed at the amelioration of the effects of high levels of televised violence on children's attitudes and behaviors.

Note: Replaced by 1994 policy on Violence in Mass Media.

1994

WHEREAS the American Psychological Association recognizes that the family constitutes a basic unit of society; and

WHEREAS the United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 1994 as the International Year of the Family (IYF) with its theme: "Family--Resources and Responsibilities in a Changing World"; and

WHEREAS the activities for the observation of IYF will be concentrated at the local, national, regional, and international levels with primary focus at the local and national levels; and

WHEREAS the IYF encompasses and addresses the needs of all families recognizing the diversity of families; and

WHEREAS activities for IYF seek to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms for all individuals as set forth by United Nations instruments, whatever the status of each individual and the conditions within a given family; and

WHEREAS IYF policies aim at promoting inherent strengths of families; and

WHEREAS IYF programs support families in the discharge of their functions;

NOW, THEREFORE the American Psychological Association does hereby resolve to join International Year of the Family and asks the Board of Convention Affairs and all directorates of the Association to consider appropriate program initiatives for the 1994 APA convention.

Note: Out of date.

1994

WHEREAS the American Psychological Association deplores the increase in violence and its negative effects on children and youth who are victims, perpetrators, bystanders, and witnesses of violent incidents;

WHEREAS the negative effects of violence extend to indirect victims whose lives are affected by losses, anxiety, and terror even if they do not have firsthand experience with violent incidents;

WHEREAS the psychological research on factors that contribute to human aggression indicates that exposure and access to guns can result in an increased likelihood of aggression;

WHEREAS access to firearms as well as their presence and use fosters anxieties, fears, distrust, and suspicion among people;

WHEREAS access to and use of firearms by young people is associated with increased rates of suicide, homicide, and injury among children and youth;

WHEREAS the presence of firearms markedly increases the probability of fatality and severe injury in interpersonal violence;

WHEREAS access to firearms by children and youth contributes to unintentional injury and death;

WHEREAS children's exposure to the consequences of firearm injury and death is associated with increased symptoms of fear, anxiety, depression, and stress;

RESOLVED, that the American Psychological Association:

1. Supports nationwide licensing of firearm ownership based on attainment of legal voting age; clearance following a criminal record background check; and demonstrated skill in firearm knowledge, use, and safety;

2. Encourages federal, state, and local governments to increase specific legal, regulatory, and enforcement efforts to reduce widespread, easy, and unsupervised access to firearms by children and youth;

3. Supports the development, implementation, and evaluation of school-based programs to educate children and youth regarding the prevention of firearm violence and the reduction of both unintentional and intentional death and injury caused by firearms.

Note: Out of date.

1999

Whereas the United Nations has designated 1999 as the International Year of Older Persons;

Whereas this segment of the population is increasing more rapidly than any other worldwide;

Whereas the needs of this segment are often ignored or neglected;

Whereas the membership of this Association affirms the dignity of all persons through the Association statement of mission and its principles of ethical behavior;

Whereas the Association, through actions of its Council of Representatives, has consistently underscored the worth and dignity of all persons;

Whereas the Association members manifest this earnest commitment to promoting healthy aging in the worlds population;

Whereas the Association has established a Standing Committee on Aging to focus on and address these issues;

Therefore, be it Resolved, that the American Psychological Association commends the United Nations for directing world attention to this issue through designating 1999 as the International Year of Older Persons and affirms the United Nations Principles for Older Persons.

Note: Outdated policy developed based on a political event/incident that has passed.

1999

WHEREAS the United Nations has designated the year 2000 as The International Year for the Culture of Peace;

WHEREAS Culture of Peace refers to promoting human welfare within communities, and has been defined by the UN along the lines of the following eight (8) principles: respect for human rights, tolerance, democracy, free flow of information, non-violence, sustainable development, peace education, and equality of men and women;

WHEREAS the membership of this Association seeks to promote human welfare and mental health;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the American Psychological Association endorses the declaration of the Year 2000 as The International Year for the Culture of Peace.

Note: Outdated policy developed based on a political event/incident that has passed.
XIII. Ethnic Minority Affairs
No archived policies.
XIV. International Affairs

1975

Council adopted the following resolution on the Use of Psychiatric Diagnosis and Hospitalization to Suppress Political Dissent.

“The Council of Representatives of the American Psychological Association notes with appreciation that the Executive Committee of the International Union of Psychological Science, at its meeting in July of 1974, carefully considered our request that it place ‘on its own agenda and on the agenda of the next meeting of the IUPsyS Assembly a resolution condemning the use of psychiatric diagnosis and hospitalization to suppress dissent and a plan to undertake an international survey of the prevalence of this practice.'

We commend the IUPsyS Executive Committee for its statement on scientific and professional ethics and conduct, which it unanimously approved after discussion of the APA Council resolution. We fully support the "Executive Committee's decision to urge adoption and enforcement of codes of ethics by national societies, to collect and disseminate information on existing codes, and to encourage discussion of issues of scientific and professional ethics in various international forums. These plans represent a significant step in the direction of social and ethical responsibility within the international psychological community.

We must, however, express our profound disappointment in the Executive Committee's decision to sidestep the specific issue that we brought before it. We recognize the existence of cultural and political differences and can understand why an international organization may be reluctant to impose a single standard on all of its members. But there are certain minimal principles for the protection of human rights to which the entire international community is committed. We cannot accept the implication that an organization speaking for international psychology, a science and profession dedicated to the promotion of human welfare, must remain neutral toward the participation of psychologists in the suppression and violation of basic human rights. If we are to maintain the moral integrity and legitimacy of international psychology, we must be willing to take an unambiguous stand against blatant abuses of our own discipline.

The Council of the American Psychological Association, through APA's representatives to the IUPsyS Assembly, therefore reaffirms its request that the IUPsyS Executive Committee place our previous resolution on the agenda of the next meeting of the IUPsyS Assembly.”

Note: Outdated policy developed based on a political event/incident that has passed.
XV. Central Office
No archived policies.
XVI. Financial Affairs

1994

Council voted to implement the recommendations contained in the Finance Committee Report to Council on “Responsible Spending” dated June 1994. The recommendations will be implemented on a phased schedule as appropriate.

Note: This policy is reviewed and revised periodically with the approval of Council.

2000

Council voted to approve a $4 dues increase from $215 to $219 for the 2001 dues year.

Note: Dues increases are considered annually by Council.