Feature

Carl Lejuez, PhD, seeks to bridge the divide between researchers and clinicians with his founding of APA's Personality Disorders Theory, Research and Treatment.

The quarterly journal, which will debut in spring 2010, will cover empirical and conceptual approaches to understanding and treating personality disorders both from a traditional DSM-IV diagnostic framework but also from a dimensional perspective, which looks at personality disorders as on a continuum of normal personality. It's unique in its goal of bringing science and real-world clinical practice together in the same journal, Lejuez says.

Lejuez, a professor in the clinical psychology program at the University of Maryland, College Park, and director of its Center for Addictions, Personality and Emotion Research, will also use online technology to encourage communication between clinicians and personality disorder researchers.

The journal will publish studies of new treatments that have a strong theoretical basis and research articles that address existing clinical problems. By keeping its research focus grounded in clinical realities, Lejuez believes the journal will encourage useful, translational laboratory work.

"There's a lot we can learn about personality disorders from translation research that draws upon real-world clinical phenomena and state-of-the-art research techniques that can ultimately benefit patients," he says.

To bring researchers and clinicians together to solve problems, Lejuez says the journal will include a section called "Practice Review," where each submission will have two authors: one researcher and one practicing clinician. Together, they'll tackle a clinically relevant problem, review available research on the topic, and provide practical clinical and research recommendations.

Personality Disorders Theory, Research and Treatment will also feature "target conceptual articles" that address and synthesize important theoretical research on some topic. Journal editors will then invite leading thinkers to publish their thoughts on these articles on the journal's Web site. There will also be an open-access message board where other researchers can further discuss the work. Kim L. Gratz, PhD, a research assistant professor and the director of personality disorders research in the department of psychiatry and human behavior at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, will edit the Web content.

Ultimately, Lejuez hopes these features will engage more clinicians in the journal process, which will lead to better research questions.

"We're trying to facilitate genuine collaboration between clinicians and researchers for the benefit of patients struggling with personality problems," he says.