Open Call for Papers: Peer Specialist Services

June 12, 2017

Open Call for Papers: Peer Specialist Services

Psychological Services
Special Package Editors: Drs. Lisa Kearney, Matthew Chinman, and Anne Klee 

Submission Deadline:  October 1, 2017

The editorial staff at APA Division 18 (Psychologists in Public Service)’s journal, Psychological Services, is inviting manuscripts for a special section on the impact peer specialists are having on the delivery of mental health and health services and outcomes in organized care settings.  Drs. Matthew Chinman and Anne Klee have agreed to serve as our guest editors.

“Who then can so softly bind up the wound of another as he who has felt the same wound himself?” – Thomas Jefferson.  

Peer support is based on the concept that people with similar conditions can share knowledge, experiences, and provide social support to one another.  One type of peer support, peer specialists, are individuals who have overcome obstacles in life and are trained and hired in organized care settings to provide services to others who have similar life experiences or challenges with mental illness, physical health problems, addictions, sexual assault, parenthood, homelessness and/or incarceration, to name several. They promote recovery, foster resilience, and build on strengths to support community integration and to help others lead fulfilling lives. These services often complement and enhance other health services.  Across studies, peer specialists have been demonstrated to improve quality of life, foster social networking, promote wellness, improve coping skills, improve medication adherence, and support acceptance of illness. Many models exist for incorporating peer specialists into mental health, health, educational, correctional, vocational, and other organized care settings.  Organized care systems such as state mental health departments (Georgia, Connecticut and Michigan, to name a few) have formally hired peer specialists in their clinical mental health programs as has the Department of Veterans Affairs, which has hired approximately 1100 peer specialists nationally.  With peer specialist services now being regularly offered as a component of mental health and health care among other services, there is much to learn from the field.  This special section will solicit and consider studies currently underway in the following areas of peer specialist service delivery: 

  • Empirical studies on mental health services provided by peer specialists 

  • Manuscripts on innovative pilot studies involving the expansion of peer specialist services

  • Manuscripts related to the implementation and evaluation of programs offering peer specialist services

  • The extension and modification of psychological interventions in which peer specialists are being trained 

  • Theoretical papers and empirical studies on peer specialists as a discipline and the unique barriers or challenges they may face

  • Empirical studies aimed at better understanding the theoretical underpinnings of what makes peer specialists effective

APA Division 18 (Psychologists in Public Service) welcomes manuscripts related to these areas including but not limited to work being conducted in the following domains:

  • police and public safety settings

  • criminal justice settings including courts, prisons, and prison reentry programs

  • educational systems at all levels

  • hospitals and community clinics

  • Indian Health Service

  • Department of Veterans Affairs

Requested manuscripts include those reporting general outcomes data for: cost savings analyses, customer satisfaction, mental health symptom change, and intervention impact on various spheres of psychosocial functioning e.g., reintegration into the community and the workforce.  Meta-analytic papers, theoretical papers, and empirical papers are all welcomed for submission. 

The deadline for receipt of papers for this special section is October 1, 2017.

Please follow the Instructions to Authors information located on the Psychological Services homepage ( Manuscripts must be submitted electronically through the Manuscript Submission Web Portal at

Please specify in your cover letter that the submission is intended for the special section on peer support services and address your letter to Dr. Lisa Kearney, Associate Editor.

All papers submitted will be initially screened by the editorial board and then sent out for blind peer review, if evaluated as appropriate for the journal.

For further questions related to this special section, please contact Dr. Kearney at

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