Call for Papers for an American Psychologist Special Issue:
Psychology’s Role in Addressing the Dual Crises in Opioids and Chronic Pain
300-Word Letter of Intent Due: June 30, 2019
Deadline for Manuscript Submissions: November 30, 2019
Special Issue Editors
Tonya Palermo, PhD, University of Washington, and Robert Kerns, PhD, Yale University School of Medicine
Elizabeth A. Klonoff, PhD, ABPP, Associate Editor, American Psychologist
This special issue focuses on psychology’s role in addressing the dual public health crises of chronic pain and opioid use.
Topics in which we are particularly interested fall into two broad areas: (a) assessment of risk factors for chronic pain and opioid misuse, assessment
of opioid risk, and considerations of polysubstance use; and (b) psychological approaches for management of chronic pain and opioid risk mitigation;
integration of psychological approaches in patient-centered, evidence-based, multimodal and interdisciplinary plans of pain care, treatment of
co-occurring chronic pain and opioid use disorder; and systems level and policy interventions to improve chronic pain management and mitigate risk
of harms associated with opioid therapy.
We are particularly interested in including manuscripts that pertain to the full range of the lifespan from childhood through later life, and that focus
on identifying and addressing health disparities. Manuscript types appropriate for this special issue include original data, systematic reviews, and
theoretical or narrative reviews.
While chronic pain, opioid use, and addiction are studied by many disciplines, to be responsive to this call for papers the content should be primarily
psychological. Similarly, although epidemiology studies may address this topic area, primary epidemiological manuscripts will not be included in
this special issue.
Authors interested in submitting articles are asked to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) by June 30, 2019. The LOI should include manuscript title,
author names and affiliations, and a 300-word (maximum) abstract of the proposed submission. Abstracts should explain how the proposed paper
will address the goals of the special issue.
Please send inquiries to either Dr. Robert Kerns ( firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr. Tonya Palermo ( email@example.com). Letters of
intent should be sent to Dr. Palermo.
LOIs will be reviewed, and decisions will be made by the editors of the special issue about which authors and manuscripts to invite for submission
of full manuscripts for peer-review. Only potential contributors whose LOI have been approved will be invited to submit a full manuscript. Please
note that all papers will be peer reviewed, and there is no guarantee of acceptance.
Manuscripts must be prepared according to the Manuscript Submission information available on the American Psychologist home page (https://
www.apa.org/ pubs/journals/amp/) and submitted electronically through the journal’s manuscript submission portal (https://www.editorialmanager
In its 2011 seminal report, the Institute of Medicine, now the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, drew attention to the public
health crisis of chronic pain and called for a national transformation in pain prevention, care, education and research. Chronic pain is common across
the lifespan and has a huge individual and societal impact on costs and lost productivity. In 2014, a special issue of the American Psychologist was
published on chronic pain and psychology, which highlighted psychology’s role in improving our understanding and treatment of pain. This excellent
series of articles addressed how psychologists can have a significant influence on chronic pain management and why this research should matter to
all psychologists. At this time, it is critical to address the dual ongoing crises of chronic pain AND opioid use, which are separate but interrelated
issues urgently relevant to all psychologists. As opioid prescribing for chronic pain management increased substantially over the past two decades
so has the rate of opioid use disorder, opioid overdoses, and deaths. Spurred by the combined problems of ineffectively treated chronic pain and the
consequences of opioids, more recent efforts are focused on improving pain management and reducing reliance on prescription opioid medications.
Psychologists have played a large role in the understanding of risk factors for chronic pain as well as for opioid misuse and addiction, and also in
developing effective interventions and considering policies aimed to more effectively treat chronic pain and reduce opioid use.
We take a lifespan approach to these issues, recognizing that efforts to address pain and opioid use must begin in adolescence when risks for chronic
pain, substance use, and opioid use disorder often commence. There are also unique concerns of older adults, including heightened risks associated
with opioid therapy and other potentially inappropriate medications, and barriers to accessing effective therapies, among other challenges. There is
a disproportionate impact of chronic pain and opioid use on low income and ethnic minority populations and an urgent need to understand factors
that contribute to health disparities to provide more effective treatment. Systems level and policy changes are also critically important to evaluate
for their impact on pain care and opioid use, particularly among vulnerable population subgroups. The purpose of this special issue is to highlight
psychological research that aims to address the crises in pain and risk of harms in the context of the therapeutic use of opioids.