In this issue

APA Program Committee report

Information about the 2016 APA convention collaborative programming, general programming and recommendations for submitting a successful program.

By Nathan Ainspan, PhD, and Rebecca Blais, PhD

As many of you know, we enjoyed a very successful convention in Toronto. We thoroughly look forward to another informative convention in Denver this coming August. As we quickly approach convention submission deadlines, the 2014-15 program committee chairs wish to share information with those who have interest in submitting to the 2016 program.

Below, we highlight information about the collaborative programming, general programming, and specific recommendations for submitting a successful program. Proposal submissions are at an all-time high, and program space is limited. Please read the 2016 call for convention programs (PDF, 494KB) to ensure that you are able to submit the best proposal possible.

Collaborative Programming

The American Psychological Association (APA) offers collaborative programming, which is an effort to join divisions in their shared interest. It is also a way to offer additional programming hours as general convention hours continue to be cut. Collaborative proposals do not require membership to several different divisions, only a shared topic of interest to several divisions. Their submission deadline is Oct.15, 2015. The collaborative program topics include the following: Social Justice in a Multicultural Society; The Circle of Science: Integrating Science, Practice and Policy; Advancing the Ethics of Psychology: Issues and Solutions; Cannabis: Concerns, Considerations, & Controversies; Targeting the Leading Preventable Causes of Death; Educational & Professional Training Issues in Psychology; and The Future of Psychology: Advancing the Field in a Rapidly Changing World. These themes cut across many of the issues we think about as psychologists with interests in military psychology. As such, we sincerely encourage submissions.

If your submission is not chosen for collaborative programming, the submission will be sent back to the lead division (upon submission, the chair will be asked to identify the leading division).

General Programming

Ann Landes, PhD, president-elect, thoughtfully developed a series of convention topics. The deadline for general programming is Dec. 1, 2015. Landes’s topics of interest for Denver 2016 include the following: The Intergenerational Impact of War Upon Service Members, Their Families, and Our Communities; Strength-Based Approaches to Promoting Resilience and Hardiness in Our Service Members; Disability of Service Members: Prevalence, Impact, Gender Difference, Coping Skills, Barriers to Seeking Assistance; Female Service Members, Mental Health (MH) Issues and Treatment Specific Issues and Interventions; Protective and Risk Factors for Suicidal Ideation and Attempts Among Military Personnel; and Ways to Integrate Family Involvement to Reduce Harm. Please note that Div. 19 does not accept single-paper presentations. Paper presentations will be evaluated as possible poster presentations.

Specific Recommendations for Submitting a Successful Program

The number of submissions to Div. 19 programming continues to increase. This increase is met with excitement; however, the APA continues to cut all division programming hours so that a more successful convention can be planned. As the competition for program space is ever increasing, the program chairs have developed a list of suggestions for preparing a successful proposal. Please see below for an example of a de-identified abstract that is considered “highly competitive.” This abstract is distributed with the permission of the authors. Please consider the following:

  • Proposals will generally be considered only as programs lasting 50 minutes. If you submit a program lasting longer than 50 minutes, please assume your time will be cut.
  • Preference will be given to data-driven proposals. If data are forthcoming, that is acceptable. Proposals that describe existing data sets (e.g., data sets that were collected four years ago) but do not include findings will not be strongly considered.
  • Proposals for symposia that contain authors from the same lab/institution will not be as competitive as proposals that include a diverse set of presenters.
  • Papers are evaluated as poster submissions.
  • Conversation hours and skill-building sessions are not preferable to data-driven symposia. As the APA providespre-meeting times, please consider submitting your conversation hours or skill-building session to the APA more generally.
  • Competitive programs will be arranged much like a professional abstract. We encourage authors to include introduction, method, result and discussion sections. Poster presentations will be reviewed by at least two reviewers. Symposia will be reviewed by at least three reviewers. Program chairs determine which abstracts are sent out for review. If your abstract does not meet the above criteria, it is possible that it will not be reviewed. Please see the review page to understand how your submission.

Sample Abstract

Clarifying the Relation of Combat Exposure to Suicide Risk Among Military Personnel: A Meta-Analysis

Questions persist about the possible role of deployments and combat exposure. Studies to date have yielded mixed conclusions, fueling professional debate and public confusion. In the present study, we conducted a narrative review and meta-analysis of 21 published studies to integrate findings regarding the relationship of deployment-related predictors (i.e., deployment, deployment to a combat zone, combat experience, and exposure to specific combat events) with suicide-related outcomes (i.e., suicide ideation, attempt, and death). Four authors coded the study data and extracted the necessary information to compute effect sizes. All individual study effect sizes were converted to a common metric, r. Conventional effect size cutoffs for the correlation coefficient are .10 for small effects, .30 for medium effects, and .50 for large effects (Cohen, 1992). Effect sizes were aggregated within study using the MAc package (Del Re & Hoyt, 2010), using Hunter and Schmidt’s (2004) aggregation approach (see Chapter 10, pp. 435–438) and assuming a .50 within-study correlation as recommended by Wampold et al. (1997). We used a random effects meta-analysis using the metaphor package (Viechtbauer, 2010, 2014). Effect sizes were weighted by sample size (i.e., the inverse of the effect size variance). However, as three very large studies (n _ 500,000) were included in the sample, we ran models with and without these studies to assess their impact. Heterogeneity among effect sizes was assessed using the I2 statistic (Huedo-Medina, Sa´nchez-Meca, Marı´n-Martı´nez, & Botella, 2006), which provided an index of how muchdeployment- and suicide-related outcome was present between studies. Across all predictors and outcomes, the combined effect was small and positive, r _ .08 [0.03, 0.13], and marked by significant heterogeneity, I2 _ 99.9 percent, Q(20) _ 4879.77, p _ .0001. This corresponds to a 25 percent increased risk for suicide-related outcomes among those who have some type of deployment experience. Studies examining the relationship of exposure to killing and atrocities in particular (k _ 5) showed the largest combined effect, r _ .13 [0.08, 0.17], and less, although still significant, heterogeneity, I2 _ 84.4 percent, Q(4) _ 34.96, p _ .0001. This corresponds to a 43 percent increased risk for suicide-related outcomes among those exposed to killing or atrocity. Results suggest that although deployment itself may not be associated with suicide-related outcomes, exposure to killing and death while deployed is. Implications for research, practice, and prevention are discussed.