Once we accept your responses to our Reviewer queries; we must subsequently address format and stylistic changes. Use ONLY the last manuscript approved. Moreover, make only the changes requested.

Be sure that all of the following items have been addressed. Typically, we return manuscripts to authors for a second or third pass for they neglect to respond to many items. We’re looking for perfection; we want your manuscript to be perfect.

Only when all the items on the Final Checklist are addressed, will we officially accept your manuscript and forward to the grammarian. Your cover sheet should be a part of the text file and not a file in itself.

Format of Manuscript

The inclusive format headings should be as follows (note which sections are fully capped). Abstract, INTRODUCTION, METHODS, RESULTS, DISCUSSION, Human Subjects Statement (when relevant), Conflict of Interest Statement, Acknowledgments, References, Tables (each on a separate page), and Figures (each on a separate page). Use Arabic numerals. These headings should be bolded and capital letters should be used as shown above.

Specific Guidelines for Text

  • Align all text left. Do not Center, Align Right, or Justify text.
  • If you have used block paragraph style, replace it with a style where the first sentence of each paragraph is indented.
  • Use only 12-point font throughout manuscript including title and headings.
  • All text and headings are double-spaced throughout.
  • Remove all inserted page breaks; allow the text to flow naturally from section to section.
  • No periods for e.g. and i.e., should be noted as eg, and ie,.
  • Use the term “sex” as opposed to “gender” when referring to “girls” and “boys” or to “women” and “men” if referring to adults. Use the term “male” and “female” as adjectives only.
  • All numbers 2 and above are shown as 2, 3, 4…9, 10, etc. NOT two, three, four…nine, ten. However, if the number begins a sentence use the written number, eg, Two hundred thirty- eight…
  • Do not use the word percent when associated with a number instead use the % symbol (eg, 22%) unless it begins a sentence eg, Thirty-five percent.
  • Do not use any underscores (underlines) in the article. If you need to emphasize a word or phrase use italics.
  • No footnotes should appear anywhere in the document if you want to make a comment insert in the text in parenthesis.
  • If appropriate, substitute the term “Participants” for “Subjects” when describing the sample. However, if “subjects” is appropriate please retain the term.
  • All p-values should be in the form p < .01 (note spacing, lower case, and NOT upper case) and not P < .01 or p < 0.01 or p<.01. This includes text and tables or graphics where p- values are shown. The p is NOT italicized or a cap and no more than 3 decimal places.
  • If you have used UK-style spellings, please change these to US-style English spellings (eg, change behaviour to behavior, metre to meter, and so on) to facilitate editing.
  • Use the symbol χ not the letter X for chi-square.
  • Any references to sample size should appear as N = 123 (note cap and spacing before and after the = sign) and NOT as N=123, n=123 or n = 123 whether in text, tables, or figures.
  • All Arabic numeric citations in text are expressed as superscripts that appear following (not before) punctuation that includes semi-colons.
  • A comma should separate consecutive numeric references citations throughout the text eg, 20,21, NOT 20-21 although 3 or more consecutive should use a hyphen (eg, 20-22). Combinations of consecutive and non- consecutive references should appear, for example, as 17,18,20-23,27. Note the lack of spacing in the references. Numeric citations should not appear inside of parentheses (6) or brackets [6].
  • Remove ALL TRACKING from the manuscript by turning off “Track Changes.”
  • Remove all things that are blinded in the paper – eg, names, names of institutions, Acknowledgments, IRB, etc.
  • Remove all HIGHLIGHTING from the manuscript.
  • Two spaces at the end of a sentence no longer apply, use one space between sentences.

Cover Sheet and Abstract

  • Cover sheet should contain Title, Authors, Abstract and Bios on authors in that order (See Cover Sheet for example).
  • Include the names, job titles or rank, Divisions/Departments, affiliations, and addresses, for ALL authors. Again, use cover sheet as example. Use full first names and last names of authors – not just initials. DO NOT USE superscripts or footnotes to indicate author roles or affiliations. List each author’s information separately. Limit the authors’ affiliation to ONE PRIMARY AFFILIATION ONLY.
  • Title of manuscript should be a maximum of 75 characters including spaces and should not be in caps or lower case; instead, the first letter of each word should be capitalized and flushed left, not centered with the exception of conjunctions, prepositions of 3 or fewer letters, except when it is the first or last word in a title.
  • Email should only be listed for corresponding author. Degrees have no periods, eg, PhD, MS, MPH, MD, etc.
  • The abstract should consist of 5 sections (Objective(s), Methods, Results, Conclusion(s), Key words) and not exceed a maximum of 200 words, including all 5 headings. Note the sections are NOT capped. Also, do not begin a sentence with a numeral (eg, “410 people participated in this survey.” SEE THE SEPARATELY ATTACHED EXAMPLE COVER SHEET AND FOLLOW THE TEMPLATE EXACTLY.

Body of the Paper

  • Major headings should be capped, bolded, flushed left and are all capped.
  • Secondary headings should be bolded and appear flush left. The first letter of each word should be capitalized.
  • Third level of heading should begin the paragraph, capitalize only the first letter of the first word, be italicized, bolded, and end in a period.
  • Here is an example of all 3 headings (Major, secondary, and tertiary):
    • MAJOR HEADING (note all caps, bold flush left)
    • Secondary Heading (note first letter of each word capped, bolded, flush left)
    • Tertiary level heading. (note only first letter capped, all is italicized, bolded, and indented)
  • The last 4 headings in your manuscript should appear in this order:
    • Human Subjects Statement (mandatory statement, notice title caps)
    • Conflict of Interest Statement (mandatory statement, notice title caps)
    • Acknowledgments (optional statement, notice title cap)
    • References (mandatory, notice title cap)
  • Because we publish primarily research manuscripts, make sure that you have included 2 headings and a statement entitled Human Subjects Statement (Such a statement is required even if the study was deemed “exempt” from human subjects review or underwent “expedited” review.) and Conflict of Interest Statement that precede the section entitled Acknowledgment. If you have no acknowledgment then the statements should precede References.


  • Make sure ALL journal titles and references are cited correctly.
  • Use the automatic Numbering Function in Word for all references. Do not use Endnote or
    similar reference programs, as they are difficult to import. Essentially, final versions need to
    be unlinked from citation software commonly used by authors and returned to regular text.
  • Journal publications of 3 authors (list all 3) thus:
    • BeckKH,ShatttuckT,RaleighR.Acomparison of teen perceptions and parental reports of influence on driving risk. Am J Health Behav. 2001;25(4):376-387.
  • Journal publications of 4 authors (list all 4) thus:
    • 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.
  • Published ahead of print:
    • Soneji S, Sargent J, Tanski S. Multiple tobacco product use among US adolescents and young adults. Tob Control. 2014;pii: tobaccocontrol-2014-051638. [Epub ahead of print].
  • Publication of 5 authors or more (list only 3 followed by et al) thus:
    • Valois RF, Zullig KJ, Huebner ES, etal. Relationship between life satisfaction and violent behaviors among adolescents. Am J Health Behav. 2001;25(4):353-366.
  • Books list thus:
    • Davidson JK, Moore NB. Marriage and Family: Change and Continuity. Boston: Allyn & Bacon 1996:129-145.
  • Quoted chapters in books list thus:
    • 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: Jossey-Bass 1977:60- 84.
  • Reports list thus:
    • 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.
  • Web pages list thus:
    • Partnership for a Drug-FreeAmerica. The boomer-rang: babyboomers seriously underestimate presence of drugs in their children’s lives (on-line). Available at: http://www.drugfreeamerican.org/. Accessed July 13, 2000. Do not activate hyperlink, just provide text as noted above, we will check, create and activate link.
  • In the References section itself, all citations are listed numerically, not as footnotes. Do not use parentheses, eg, (26) or brackets, eg [26] {26}. Citation numerals should appear as regular numbers and not bolded. Use the automatic numbering function in Word to number the references. Do not use Endnote or similar reference program.
  • Prepare all the references in AMA style, with Index Medicus/PubMed abbreviations for all journals that have them. DO NOT GUESS AT ABBREVIATIONS; USE ONLY THE LEGITIMATE ABBREVIATIONS. If no abbreviation appears in Index Medicus then use the full title of the referenced journal.
  • Make sure that the PubMed/Index Medicus abbreviated journal titles are italicized.
  • For article titles, capitalize ONLY the first word of the title UNLESS the word is a proper noun; do not capitalize the first word appearing after a colon in the title of an article.
  • Capitalize and italicize book title properly.
  • For journal listings give both the volume and issue number as well as inclusive page numbers – eg, Am J Health Behav. 2012;37(1):101-141. Note the full-page numbers and lack of spacing beginning with the publication year; a common mistake is for authors to list the page numbers as 171-8 or 256 -9 when they should be 171-178 or 256-259.
  • Make sure that ALL journal titles and references are cited correctly, are complete, and in the STYLE OF THE JOURNAL. No paper will be accepted with improperly cited or incomplete references – the burden is entirely on the authors to verify reference accuracy; copyeditors will not correct errors. For assistance with abbreviations go to http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed and type in the title of the journal whose abbreviation is being sought. Finally, review and re-review this section prior to resubmitting, as flawed references will result in the return of your paper. Again, review copy of Author Guidelines for more specific information.
  • Remove oral or poster presentations as references unless the reader can obtain via a reference or web link. If presentations appear in the References without a web link or a place where reader can retrieve, you will be asked to replace or remove reference and re-adjust your references throughout the manuscript. ALSO, DO NOT LIST PAPERS THAT ARE “SUBMITTED,” “IN PROGRESS,” “IN PREPARATION,” OR “UNDER REVIEW,” AND DO NOT CITE “PERSONAL COMMUNICATION” IN THE REFERENCES.
  • Should you use the words “web” or “listserv,” we use lower case to be consistent with other forms of communication media such as radio, telephones, and television.
  • Should you use web links in your references make sure that is active and listed accurately.

Tables, Figures and Graphics

  • Note where tables, figures and graphics should appear in text.
  • For photos use tiff or jpeg (tif or jpg) at a resolution of least 300 ppi. Do not embed the title or Note section within the figure, keep both Title and Note outside the figure, graphs, graphics, tif, or jpg file.
  • Colors within the figure are acceptable.
  • Number tables or figures consecutively as they are referred to in the text (eg, Table 1, Table 2, Table 3 and so on; and not Table 1a, Table 1b, etc. This also applies to figures, eg, Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.).
  • Limit the size of your tables across the page via columns. Table width should not exceed 7 inches (18 cm) or 8 columns using 12-point Times New Roman font. If you have too many columns, we may ask you to break into separate or smaller tables.
  • The first letter of each word of the table title should be capitalized except for articles (a, an), prepositions (about, for, to), conjunctions (and, or), or other small words.
  • Tables should be on separate pages and appear at the end of the manuscript after the references.
  • Do not embed titles, symbols or formulas into the table.
  • Do not include images of tables in TIFF, PNG, JPEG or PDF formats.
  • Use the Table function in Word to create the table.
  • If unsure the table is acceptable, please e-mail the journal offices and send the proposed table for review prior to submission.Finally
  • Return no more than 3 files; one file for text, one file for all tables (include appendices in table file), and one file for all figures. Moreover, each table or figure should be on a separate sheet within the file.
  • Please note that sooner you address these items correctly; the sooner we can formally accept your manuscript, forward to the grammarian and provide proofs.

Thanks in advance for your attention to detail.

Please note that all future correspondence will be with the editor at e.glover@ajhb.org.

Revised April 21, 2017