While not an exhaustive list the following may help authors get a better idea of what types of group therapy papers would be most welcome at Group Dynamics (and which papers might not be appropriate).
1. Treatment outcome studies
Studies that compare two (or more) different treatment approaches, compare a treatment to a waitlist or placebo control, or compare group to individual therapy would all be welcome at Group Dynamics. Additive or dismantling studies (adding or removing a treatment component in some groups) would also be great. Of course, one challenge is that outcome studies should include multiple groups not just a single group in the treatment condition. If the treatment is being compared to a control group, there should be random assignment and the control should be reasonable (e.g., I recently desk rejected a paper where the treatment group was compared to a control of people who refused treatment).
Admittedly, most of the group treatment outcome studies that are done well are being published in higher impact journals, so we have to be somewhat flexible about design issues. For example, a very well done pre-post design study might be considered if there is a compelling rationale for the treatment being examined, the condition being treated is chronic if untreated, multiple groups were included in the analyses etc. A paper describing an innovative and theoretically well-grounded new group treatment with some supporting pilot data might also be considered.
2. Predictors of treatment outcome (including “process” studies)
Studies examining what characteristics of clients, therapists, or groups predict outcome are probably more feasible than rigorous outcome studies. These predictor variables could be at either the individual or group level (or both). Studies that look at treatment by individual characteristics interactions (i.e., aptitude by treatment interactions) would be especially welcome (e.g., studies that examine personality traits that predict who benefits more from group therapy versus individual therapy).
3. Assessment/Psychometric papers
Papers that present new measurement instruments for studying groups or group members (with some preliminary psychometric data) or psychometric studies of existing group measures would be very welcome.
4. Meta-analyses or systematic reviews
While we are unlikely to publish purely theoretical papers, papers that synthesize an existing empirical literature (either quantitatively using meta-analysis, or qualitatively using a traditional literature review) and help clarify important questions in group therapy would be great.
5. Methods/statistics papers
One the challenges facing group therapy researchers is that design and analysis issues are often much more complicated than when studying individual therapy. Papers that present new ways of addressing these challenges or more instructional/how-to papers that help walk researchers through established methods for setting up these studies and doing these analyses would be welcome.
6. Evidence-Based Case Studies
These case studies would require quality data to support the case description, but could be a good way to bridge research and practice.
David Marcus, Ph.D.
Editor for Group Dynamics