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Referencing style - APA 7th: Example text

A guide to using the APA 7th edition referencing system for in-text citations and reference lists.

In-text citations and reference list example

Following is an example of text taken from a published article showing in-text citations and the associated section of the reference list.

For further examples go the APA Style Blog - Sample Papers

This example demonstrates in particular in-text variations for: 

  • Use of parenthesis and narrative author-date use 
  • Use of et al. convention for 3 authors or more
  • Citing of multiple references in one in-text parenthesis citation
  • Use of direct quotations and page numbers
  • Personal communication - referenced in full in-text only
  • Not providing in-text citation for subsequent paraphrasing from the same source

Body of text with in-text citations

Empirical research focused on guided imagery interventions supports the efficacy of the technique with a variety of populations within hospital settings, with positive outcomes for individuals diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and eating disorders (Utay & Miller, 2006). Guided imagery and relaxation techniques have even been found to “reduce distress and allow the immune system to function more effectively” (Trakhtenberg, 2008, p. 850). For example, Holden-Lund (1988) examined effects of a guided imagery intervention on surgical stress and wound healing in a group of 24 patients. Patients listened to guided imagery recordings and reported reduced state anxiety, lower cortisol levels following surgery, and less irritation in wound healing compared with a control group. Holden-Lund concluded that the guided imagery recordings contributed to improved surgical recovery. It would be interesting to see how the results might differ if guided imagery was practiced continually in a group context.

Combinations of relaxation training techniques, including guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation, have been shown to improve psychiatric and medical symptoms when delivered in a group psychotherapy context (Bottomley, 1996; Cunningham & Tocco, 1989). The research supports the existence of immediate and long-term positive effects of guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation delivered in group psychotherapy (Baider et al., 1994). For example, Cohen and Fried (2007) examined the effect of group psychotherapy on 114 women diagnosed with breast cancer. The researchers randomly assigned participants to three groups: (a) a control group, (b) a relaxation psychotherapy group that received guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation interventions, or (c) a cognitive behavioral therapy group.

In order to recruit larger samples and to study participants over time, researchers will need to overcome challenges of participant selection and attrition. These factors are especially relevant within hospital settings because high patient turnover rates and changes in medical status may contribute to changes in treatment plans that affect group participation (L. Plum, personal communication, March 17, 2019). Despite these challenges, continued research examining guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation interventions within group psychotherapy is warranted (Scherwitz et al., 2005). The results thus far are promising, and further investigation has the potential to make relaxation techniques that can improve people’s lives more effective and widely available.


Baider, L., Uziely, B., & Kaplan De-Nour, A. (1994). Progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery in cancer patients. General Hospital Psychiatry, 16(5), 340–347.

Bottomley, A. (1996). Group cognitive behavioural therapy interventions with cancer patients: A review of the literature. European Journal of Cancer Cure, 5(3), 143–146.

Cohen, M., & Fried, G. (2007). Comparing relaxation training and cognitive-behavioral group therapy for women with breast cancer. Research on Social Work Practice, 17(3), 313–323.

Cunningham, A. J., & Tocco, E. K. (1989). A randomized trial of group psychoeducational therapy for cancer patients. Patient Education and Counseling, 14(2), 101–114.

Holden-Lund, C. (1988). Effects of relaxation with guided imagery on surgical stress and wound healing. Research in Nursing & Health, 11(4), 235–244.

Scherwitz, L. W., McHenry, P., & Herrero, R. (2005). Interactive guided imagery therapy with medical patients: Predictors of health outcomes. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11(1), 69–83.

Trakhtenberg, E. C. (2008). The effects of guided imagery on the immune system: A critical review. International Journal of Neuroscience, 118(6), 839–855.

Utay, J., & Miller, M. (2006). Guided imagery as an effective therapeutic technique: A brief review of its history and efficacy research. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 33(1), 40–43.


Text example from: 

American Psychological Association (2020). Annotated Student Sample Paper [PDF, 2MB] APA Style


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