Rebecca L. Pearl, Ph.D.

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Assistant Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Department: Psychiatry
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
3535 Market Street
Suite 3026
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215-746-5129
A.B. (Psychology)
Duke University , 2009.
M.S (Clinical Psychology)
Yale University, 2011.
M.Phil (Clinical Psychology)
Yale University, 2012.
Ph.D. (Clinical Psychology)
Yale University, 2015.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests: Mental and physical health consequences of weight bias and stigma (as well as other forms of appearance-based stigma), and strategies for reducing bias and stigma.

Keywords: Appearance; body image; bias; discrimination; health; obesity; prejudice; stigma; weight

Research Details:
My current research examines the negative effects of self-directed stigma (or internalized stigma) on individuals with obesity. I investigate psychological correlates and consequences of internalized weight stigma (e.g., depression). My research also explores the biophysiological and behavioral pathways by which internalized weight stigma may contribute to cardiometabolic risk factors associated with obesity.

Additionally, my research aims to advance efforts to reduce weight stigma. I investigate stigma-reduction strategies such as policy initiatives (i.e., legislation), targeting weight bias among health professionals, using non-stereotypical media portrayals of obesity, and developing cognitive-behavioral interventions to help individuals with obesity cope with stigma.

Apart from weight stigma, my research also examines stigma associated with appearance-related issues among patients with skin diseases and those seeking reconstructive and cosmetic surgery.

Selected Publications

Pearl RL, Walton K, Allison KC, Tronieri JS, Wadden TA: Preference for people-first language among patients seeking bariatric surgery. JAMA Surgery September 2018.

K Shao, J Zhang, RL Pearl, L Taylor, JF Sobanko: Improving quality of life measurement in skin cancer patients: Clinical correlates for the Skin Cancer Index. Dermatologic Surgery 44(8): 1139-40, Aug 2018.

J. Shaw Tronieri, T. A. Wadden, N. Alfaris, A. M. Chao, N. Alamuddin, R. I. Berkowitz, R. L. Pearl: "Last supper" predicts greater weight loss early in obesity treatment, but not enough to offset initial gains. Frontiers in Psychology Aug 2018 Notes: DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01335.

Ariana M. Chao, Thomas A. Wadden, Jena Shaw Tronieri, Rebecca L. Pearl, Naji Alamuddin, Zayna M. Bakizada, Emilie Pinkasavage, Sharon M. Leonard, Nasreen Alfaris, Robert I. Berkowitz : Effects of addictive-like eating behaviors on weight loss with behavioral obesity treatment. Journal of Behavioral Medicine Jul 2018 Notes: DOI: 10.1007/s10865-018-9958-z.

Lin L, Zhang R, Mazzaferro D, Hoppe I, Pearl R, Swanson J, Bartlett S, Taylor J: Influence of repaired cleft lip and palate on layperson perceptions following orthognathic surgery. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Jul 2018 Notes: DOI: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000004778.

Pearl Rebecca L, Wadden Thomas A: Weight Stigma Affects Men Too. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.) 26(6): 949, Jun 2018.

Pearl Rebecca L, Hopkins Christina H, Berkowitz Robert I, Wadden Thomas A: Group cognitive-behavioral treatment for internalized weight stigma: a pilot study. Eating and weight disorders : EWD 23(3): 357-362, Jun 2018.

Pearl Rebecca L, Wadden Thomas A, Tronieri Jena Shaw, Berkowitz Robert I, Chao Ariana M, Alamuddin Naji, Leonard Sharon M, Carvajal Raymond, Bakizada Zayna M, Pinkasavage Emilie, Gruber Kathryn A, Walsh Olivia A, Alfaris Nasreen: Short- and Long-Term Changes in Health-Related Quality of Life with Weight Loss: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.) 26(6): 985-991, Jun 2018.

Tronieri Jena Shaw, Wadden Thomas A, Chao Ariana M, Pearl Rebecca L, Alamuddin Naji, Berkowitz Robert I: Early Weight Loss in Behavioral Treatment Predicts Later Rate of Weight Loss and Response to Pharmacotherapy. Annals of behavioral medicine : a publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine May 2018 Notes: DOI: 10.1093/abm/kay036.

Sobanko Joseph F, Shao Kimberly, Pearl Rebecca L, Leachman Sancy: United States Preventive Services Task Force Overstates Cosmetic Harms of Skin Cancer Screening. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology 11(4): 52-53, Apr 2018.

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Last updated: 09/07/2018
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