APA Directorates Key Policies and Presidential Initiatives Surveys


The American Psychological Association (APA) is the largest scientific and professional organization representing all psychologists and psychology in the United States.  Currently, APA has approximately 130,000 members with a variety of interest areas.    However, over the past several years, an increasing amount of members have dropped out of APA.  The possibility exists that this alarming trend is due to the fact that APA may not be representing its membership in the most robust way possible. As a consequence, the following surveys were done in order to gain a better understanding of the concerns of psychologists.


Two surveys were sent out to an e-mail list of 6,024 individuals, of which the approximately 72% were APA members during the spring of 2014. The e-mail system was MailChimp and the survey system used was Survey Monkey.  A total of 184 individuals completed the Key Policies Survey and 427 individuals completed the Presidential Initiatives Survey.

Participants: Key Policies Survey

Participants were evenly distributed between genders with 51% (93) being female and 49% (90) being male.  The age range of participants was 19-88(Mage = ­­­­52, SDage =14). Education levels varied with 74.6% (135) having their Ph.D., 9.9% (18) having their Psy.D., 4.4% (8) having their M.A./M.S./M.B.A., 5.5% (10) having their B.A., and 5.5% (10) having another type of degree. Areas of interest also varied with 83.4% (151) interested in practice, 51.4% (93) interested in academic, 44.2% (80) interested in research, 30.9% (56) interested in administration, 26.5% (48) interested in public service, and 5.0% (9) interested in “other.”

Procedure: Key Policies Survey

The survey was sent out on March 15, 2014 and was titled, “APA Directorates Key Policy Survey.”  After the demographic questions, the survey assessed different key policies in relation to four areas: education, practice, public interest, and science. Individuals were asked to rank these areas according to how important they thought they were in relation to the future of psychology.

Each question contained the key policies involved in one of the four areas. Each of these policies had a drop box next to it displaying numbers corresponding to the amount of options given, allowing the individual to rank order them.

Results: Key Policies Survey

The key policies were rank ordered in the following way (see Table 1, Table 2, Table 3, and Table 4).

Table 1:  Key Policy Areas in Education

Ranking Topic
1 Federal practice and research spending
2 Community health centers for underserved
3 Graduate psychology education and funding
4 Shortage of qualified mental health professionals
5 Improving teaching and learning
6 Recruiting health care professionals for NHSC


Table 2:  Key Policies in Practice

Ranking Topic
1 Physician definition in Medicare
2 Medicare payment
3 Behavioral health information technology


Table 3:  Key Policies in Public Interest

Ranking Topic
1 Mental health service issues in an aging population
2 Health care reform
3 Mental health of children, adolescents & families
4 Advocacy issues for a disabled population
5 Reducing health care disparities in ethnic minorities
6 The role of psychology in trauma, violence and abuse
7 Health care, educational and social issues of the impoverished
8 Advocacy for women’s issues
9 The role of psychology in HIV and AIDS
10 Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues


Table 4:  Key Policy Areas in Science

Ranking Topic
1 Federal spending for psychological research
2 Collaboration with the National Institutes of Health
3 Peer review and scientific funding from federal agencies
4 Military service members, veterans, and their families
5 Clinical issues involving substance abuse disorders


Participants: Presidential Initiatives Survey

Participants were slightly female dominant with 55% (236) being female and 44% (187) being male.  The age range of participants was 18-89(Mage = ­­­­51, SDage =14).  Education levels varied with 66% (280) having their Ph.D., 11% (48) having their B.A./B.S., 9% (36) having their M.A./M.S., 8% (32) having their PsyD, and 6% (28) having any other level of degree.  Areas of interest also varied with 70% (296) interested in practice, 50% (210) interested in academic, 39% (164) interested in research, 26% (109) interested in administration, 20% (86) interested in public service, and 11% (45) interested in other.

Procedure: Presidential Initiatives Survey

The survey was sent out on February 14, 2014, and was titled, “APA Presidential Initiative Survey.”  After some demographic questions, there were 12 different initiatives that the ten most recent APA presidents had chosen listed in which the participant was asked to rank on a scale of 1-12 (1 being most important, 12 being least important).

Results: Presidential Initiatives Survey

The presidential initiatives were rank ordered in the following way (see Table 5).


Table 5:  Presidential Initiatives

Ranking Topic
1 Integrative health care
2 Translating science for the public
3 Education/engagement for next generation
4 Psychological services to military
5 Attracting/retaining academicians and scientists
6 Addressing obesity
7 Service and science of homelessness
8 Promoting diversity
9 Psychological science and public policy
10 Psychology of immigration
11 IRBs and psychological science
12 Psychology and interrogation



In terms of Key Policy Survey issues across the four APA directorates, the following were ranked as most important: federal practice and research spending, physician definition in Medicare, mental health service issues in an aging population, and federal spending for psychological research according to this sample of APA members.  The Presidential Initiatives Survey results indicated that integrative health care was ranked the most important. However, the number and breadth of initiatives reflects the diversity that APA has historically enjoyed. While this is a limited sample since the emails come from the contacts with the senior authors, it is a window to begin to understand what is important to psychologists and APA members.

For more information about the survey results, please go to www.puenteforpresident.com.

Antonio E. Puente is Professor of Psychology at UNC Wilmington and maintains a practice in clinical neuropsychology. He represented the American Psychological Association on the American Medical Association Current Procedural Terminology panel. He now serves as a voting member of the panel.

Angela Sekely is a graduate student in clinical neuropsychology at UNCW.

Hana Kuwabara is also a graduate student in clinical neuropsychology at UNCW.

Share this post:

Comments on "APA Directorates Key Policies and Presidential Initiatives Surveys"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment