This article is adapted from "Puerto Rico National Tour" prepared by W. Rodríguez, 2008, which appeared in Wedding, D., & Stevens, M. J. (Eds). (2009). Psychology: IUPsyS Global Resource (Edition 2009) [CD-ROM]. International Journal of Psychology, 44 (Suppl. 1).
The precursors of psychology of Puerto Rico obtained their degrees from institutions in the United States in the early 1950s. Most of them oriented their work to assessment and education and worked for the Public Department of Education. In the mid 1960s a graduate program started in the University of Puerto, Rio Piedras and a few years later the Caribbean Center for Advanced Studies was founded. In 1983 the Senate of Puerto Rico passed a law regulating the practice of psychology in Puerto Rico. It requires the passing of an exam to obtain a license and evidence of continuing education is required for renewal of the license every three years. The doctoral program at the University of Puerto Rico, the state university, was established in 1986.
Both research and applications are well developed in Puerto Rico and have improved substantially in the past ten years. The National Institute of Mental Health and other federal and local government agencies funds most of the research in Puerto Rico. Epidemiological research and patterns of use of mental health services among the population are main issues at two very important research centers located at the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus (Behavioral Sciences Research Institute and Sociomedic Research and Evaluation Center).
At the University Center for Psychological Services and Research at the Department of Psychology in the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, the main research projects are currently focused on depression in Puerto Rican children and adolescents, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in Puerto Rican children and adolescents, treatment evaluation and HIV/AIDS prevention and intervention with different populations. At the Research Center of the University of Puerto Rico (formerly, Caribbean Center for Advanced Studies) clinical and educational research have been the focus. Active dissemination of research is made at the American Psychological Association's annual convention and at the congresses and specialized meetings of the International Association of Applied Psychology and the Interamerican Society of Psychology.
The Department of Psychology of the University of Puerto Rico, the Carlos Albizu University (formerly, Caribbean Center for Advanced Studies)and the Catholic University of Puerto Rico are the only three institutions in Puerto Rico that offer Ph.D. degrees. An exam is required by the government in order to grant a license for practice. For clinicians a Ph.D. is required to qualify for the examination. Others can take the examination with a master's degree. Licensure is not required for those fully dedicated to education and training, unless they supervise practicums in clinical settings. Many psychologists in Puerto Rico obtain their doctoral degrees in universities in the United States. Training programs cover clinical, counseling, industrial-organizations, social-community, and general psychology.
The Psychology Examination Board and the Puerto Rico Association of Psychology provide two codes of ethics. Both are similar in form and content to the Code of Ethics of the American Psychological Association.
Revista Puertorriquena de Psicologia
Ciencias de la Conducta
Revista de Cinecias Sociales, Universidad Puerto Rico, 1957-
Pedagogia, Puerto Rico, 1952-
Updated Dectember 2008