Feature

Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, the journal of APA's Div. 50 (Society of Addiction Psychology), is one of very few addiction-related journals open to research on various kinds of addictive disorders.

"Many journals about addiction are limited to substance use," says psychologist Nancy M. Petry, PhD, a professor of medicine at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine who will become the journal's editor in January. In contrast, Psychology of Addictive Behaviors features articles related to the psychological aspects of gambling, alcohol use and alcoholism, eating disorders, smoking and nicotine addiction, and other addictive behaviors, in addition to drug use and abuse.

Petry plans to continue that tradition. In fact, she predicts the journal will see even more articles on gambling as the field of gambling studies continues to grow. Another expanding area is the study of overeating. "Whether overeating is more of an addiction or more aligned to eating disorders is a matter of debate," she says. "The data are still emerging." Other possible growth areas for the journal include high-quality research on gaming and Internet addiction, she says.

One thing Petry does plan to do is to increase the number of primary analyses of research. "Hopefully, we'll be moving toward publishing the primary findings associated with studies," she says. "I also hope to streamline the review process, so that both reviewers and authors can benefit from focusing reviews and revisions on important issues that enhance the quality of papers."

Also during Petry's tenure, the journal may go from being published quarterly to being published every other month as a way to accommodate the increasing number of addiction studies being conducted by researchers around the world from a variety of disciplines, including psychologists, psychiatrists, neurobiologists and others. "We're always interested in new disciplines and new people," she says.

Editorial work isn't new to Petry. She served as the journal's associate editor half a dozen years ago and currently serves on the editorial boards of seven journals.

Petry's own research reflects the journal's breadth. "My research is pretty broadly based," she says. "I do primary treatment studies for substance use disorders as well as pathological gambling." Petry also served on the American Psychiatric Association's Work Group on Substance Use and Related Disorders for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5.

Rebecca A. Clay is a writer in Washington, D.C.