Please review the Author Guidelines carefully. We have also developed a submission checklist to assist authors.

Ethical Guidelines

Manuscripts are accepted with the understanding that they are submitted solely to Health Behavior and Policy Review and have not been previously published elsewhere. To decrease bias during the editorial process, we employ the classic double-blind peer review process.

Health Behavior and Policy Review adheres to the COPE Core Practices regarding ethical guidelines for publication. In addition, we support use of the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) guidelines regarding journal policies and practices. Please review the full guidelines here.

Cover Letter 

A cover letter is required with your submission. Do not exceed 1000 words.

Title Page

Prepare 2 title pages.

  • One should include the title and all relevant author information (unblinded).
  • One should include the title only (blinded for peer review) and be included in one file along with the rest of your submission.

Limit titles to 75 characters including spaces. Capitalize only the first letter of each word in the title- do not format in all caps. Provide information for all authors including degrees, affiliations, and an email address for the corresponding author.


Include headings for Objectives, Methods, Results, and Conclusions. Do not exceed 200 words, including headings. State the purpose of the study or investigation, basic procedures, main findings, and the principal conclusions. It should emphasize new and important aspects of the study or observations.

Key words

Directly after the abstract, include 5-6 key words or short phrases that will assist in cross-indexing.

Manuscript Elements

The manuscript should contain the following headings:

  • METHODS (required)
  • RESULTS (required)
  • DISCUSSION (required)
    • This section should be thoughtful, interpretative, and directive, and not merely a gratuitous inclusion. It should be written in a narrative form and must be  action-oriented– ie, what researchers should do, what practitioners should do, or what policymakers should do. Most important here is illustration of the implications your work has for policymakers and practitioners. Following some narrative, we recommend using bullet points, if feasible. It should be written with as much specificity as possible. Recommended actions should relate back to philosophical principles, regulatory measures, or actual legislation. This section is intended to be what separates this peer-reviewed journal from many others. This section is not just an extension of the Discussion or a summary of findings. In this section, you should be explicit as to how your paper contributes to priority health topics identified by the World Health Organization and/or priority health objectives identified in the US publication Healthy People. Your paper will be returned to you until these parameters are addressed as described.
  • Acknowledgements
  • Human Subjects Approval Statement (required)
  • Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement (required)
  • References (required)
  • Tables and/or Figures

Use “AMA Manual of Style” 10th Edition as your guide. Double-space the manuscript and use 12-point, Times New Roman font. Include page numbers.


Submitted papers typically do not exceed 5000 words, excluding the title page, abstract, references, tables, and/or figures. If your manuscript exceeds these limits, please contact the journal offices.


List all sources of support and note disclaimers, if any, including notices of the manuscript’s prior appearance as a preliminary report or abstract.

Human Subjects Approval Statement

Indicate review and approval of the study by an institutional review board, if applicable, or statement of exempt status.

Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement

Articles published in Health Behavior and Policy Review must be accompanied by a conflict of interest disclosure statement. If authors have no conflicts of interest to declare, include this statement: “All authors of this article declare they have no conflicts of interest”.

Authors must disclose to the editors at the time of their submission any and all potential conflicts of interest including financial and non-financial interests and relationships, direct employment with a private sector entity (whether full-time, part-time, or on a consultancy basis), and service on private sector and non-profit boards and advisory panels, whether paid or unpaid. Please review carefully the Conflict of Interest Disclosure portion of our Ethical Guidelines. We encourage authors to err on the side of full disclosure if in doubt.


Number references consecutively in the order in which they are first mentioned in the text.  Identify references in text by superscript numerals. References to papers accepted but not yet published should be designated as “in press” and authors should obtain written permission to cite such papers as well as verification that they have been accepted for publication.

Prepare all references in AMA style, with the Library of Medicine (NLM) abbreviations for all journal titles that have them. For assistance with abbreviations consult the NLM website. Abbreviated journal titles should be italicized.

For secondary sources, direct quotations, and citations from books or reports, give specific page numbers. Avoid citing personal communications unless it provides essential information not available from a public source. Personal communications should be cited in text only, giving the source and date. Authors should obtain written permission and confirmation of accuracy from the source.

Use the style of the examples below:

    Kohler CL, Schoenberger YM, Beasley TM, Phillips MM. Effectiveness evaluation of the N-O-T smoking cessation program for adolescents. Am J Health Behav. 2008;32(4):368-379.
    Valois RF, Zullig KJ, Huebner ES, et al. Relationship between life satisfaction and violent behaviors among adolescents. Am J Health Behav. 2001;25(4):353-366.
    ​Davidson JK, Moore NB. Marriage and Family: Change and Continuity. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon; 1996:129-145.
    Prochaska JO, Redding CA, Evers KE. The transtheoretical model and stages of change. In Glanz K, Lewis FM, Rimer BK, eds. Health Behavior and Health Education: Theory, Research, and Practice. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass; 1977:60-84.
    Behavioral Risk Factor Survey 1995. A Report on the Lifestyle Behaviors Affecting the Health of West Virginians. WV Bureau for Public Health; 1997:45-51.
    Partnership for a Drug-Free America. The boomer-rang: baby boomers seriously underestimate presence of drugs in their children’s lives. Available at: “Place Link Here.” Accessed July 13, 2000.

Figures and Tables

Place each figure and table on separate pages at the end of the manuscript after References. Note in the text where the figure or table should be placed.

  • Figures: Provide high-quality images of figures to ensure clarity in publication. Do not embed titles and notes in the figures. If a figure has been published, acknowledge the original source and submit written permission from the copyright holder to reproduce the material. Images in TIFF, PNG, JPEG or PDF formats are allowed but do not embed titles or legends.
  • Tables: Place a “Note” section underneath the table to explain all abbreviations or data descriptions used in each table in alphabetical sequence: a, b, c, d, e, etc. Use asterisks only to identify significant p-values. If you use data from another published or unpublished source, obtain permission and acknowledge the source. Limit the size of your tables. The width of tables should not run across more than one page. Do not submit tables in PDF or image formats. If unsure whether a table is acceptable, please e-mail the journal offices and send the proposed table for review prior to submission.

Number of Figures and Tables Allowed

Up to 6 tables and/or figures (any combination of tables or figures adding to 6). There is an additional fee to cover the costs of editing and typesetting figures beyond the number allotted. For fees and option to excessive tables/figures, check the fee schedule.

Supplementary Materials/Appendices Allowed

Up to 6 pages of double-spaced, supplementary materials/appendices are allowed. There is an additional fee to cover the costs of editing and typesetting supplementary material/appendices beyond the number of pages allotted. For fees and options to excessive materials, check the fee schedule.

Redact Identifying Information

To facilitate double-blind peer review, redact all information in text, Acknowledgements, and References that identifies author(s).


It is the responsibility of the author or authors to obtain the necessary permission to use any quoted material in excess of 25 lines that is incorporated in the manuscript. Permission must be obtained, and credit given, for quotations, tables, and illustrations borrowed from copyright material. Letters granting permission should accompany the manuscript when submitted.

Abbreviations and Nomenclature

Abbreviations and nomenclature should conform to the AMA Manual of Style (10th edition). Abbreviations should be kept to a minimum in the text and should be defined at first usage. Periods are not used after abbreviations (eg, mm, mL). Generic names are preferred for drugs.

Plagiarism Prevention 

It is the author’s responsibility to check papers for unattributed text. There are several software programs available such as Grammarly, Plagiarisma, Paperrater, iThenticate, etc.

Review Process

We employ the classic double-blind peer review process.

  • ​Manuscripts received are blinded and electronically sent to at least 3 referees for review.
  • Referees are professional scholars in the disciplines of social and behavioral health sciences, health policy, epidemiology, psychology, and other areas of public health.
  • Referees evaluate the manuscript according to established criteria on an evaluation form.
  • The Senior Consulting Editor transmits reviewer evaluations and comments to the corresponding author.
  • Final disposition of the manuscript rests with the Senior Consulting Editor.

Develop a Press Release

Should your manuscript be accepted and published in the journal, we have provided a resource on developing a press release to further promote your research.


Updated January 16, 2020