Each practice guideline is extensively reviewed at multiple draft stages. Draft 1 is reviewed by the Steering Committee. Draft 2 is reviewed by approximately 50 reviewers with expertise in the topic, representatives of allied organizations, the APA Assembly, District Branches, the Joint Reference Committee, the Board of Trustees, the Council on Quality Care, other components related to the subject area, and any APA member by request. Draft 3 is reviewed and approved for publication by the Assembly and the Board of Trustees.

The development process may be summarized as follows:

  • Step 1: The Steering Committee on Practice Guidelines selects about five individuals to serve as the work group chair and members.

  • Step 2: The work group chair and Department of Quality Improvement and Psychiatric Services staff develop a preliminary outline, to be continuously revised and refined throughout subsequent steps in the development process.

  • Step 3: A literature search is conducted by APA and/or the work group. Relevant articles from the search are obtained, in abstract or in entirety. The work group reviews these articles, codes them for study design, and constructs evidence tables for each treatment.

  • Step 4: Draft 1 is written based on evidence tables and outline.

  • Step 5: Draft 1 is circulated to the work group and Steering Committee for review and comment.

  • Step 6: Draft 2 is written based on comments received.

  • Step 7: Draft 2 is circulated for general review.

  • Step 8: Draft 3 is written based on comments received.

  • Step 9: Draft 3 is submitted to the formal APA review and approval process (Council on Quality Improvement, Assembly, Board of Trustees).

After final approval by the Assembly and Board of Trustees, each practice guideline is widely disseminated. Practice guidelines are made available to all psychiatrists in a variety of ways, including publication in The American Journal of Psychiatry. Each practice guideline is revised at regular intervals to reflect new knowledge in the field.

To help maintain currency of guideline recommendations, in 2004 the Steering Committee on Practice Guidelines began publishing "guideline watches," brief articles that highlight significant developments relevant to specific guidelines. As they are completed, watches are made available online here at PsychiatryOnline.com. Watches are also included in guideline compendiums available from American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.


Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).
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