Department of Psychiatry

Penn Behavioral Health

faculty photo

Rebecca L. Pearl

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.
Ph.D. (Clinical Psychology)
Yale University, 2015.
Post-Graduate Training
Predoctoral Psychology Intern, Harvard Medical School/McLean Hospital, 2014-2015.
Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, 2015-2016.
Permanent link
> Perelman School of Medicine   > Faculty   > Details

Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests: Mental and physical health consequences of appearance-based stigma (i.e. obesity), and strategies for reducing stigma.

Keywords: Appearance; bias; discrimination; health; obesity; prejudice; stigma

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 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 seeking reconstructive and cosmetic surgery.

Selected Publications

Tronieri Jena Shaw, Alfaris Nasreen, Chao Ariana M, Pearl Rebecca L, Alamuddin Naji, Bakizada Zayna M, Berkowitz Robert I, Wadden Thomas A: Lorcaserin plus lifestyle modification for weight loss maintenance: Rationale and design for a randomized controlled trial. Contemporary clinical trials 59: 105-112, Jun 2017.

Tronieri Jena Shaw, Wurst Courtney McCuen, Pearl Rebecca L, Allison Kelly C: Sex Differences in Obesity and Mental Health. Current psychiatry reports 19(6): 29, Jun 2017.

Pearl Rebecca L, Argueso Dallas, Wadden Thomas A: Effects of medical trainees' weight-loss history on perceptions of patients with obesity. Medical education May 2017.

Pearl Rebecca L, Wadden Thomas A, Hopkins Christina M, Shaw Jena A, Hayes Matthew R, Bakizada Zayna M, Alfaris Nasreen, Chao Ariana M, Pinkasavage Emilie, Berkowitz Robert I, Alamuddin Naji: Association between weight bias internalization and metabolic syndrome among treatment-seeking individuals with obesity. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.) 25(2): 317-322, Feb 2017.

Pearl Rebecca L, Forgeard Marie J C, Rifkin Lara, Beard Courtney, Bjorgvinsson Throstur: Internalized stigma of mental illness: Changes and associations with treatment outcomes. Stigma and Health 2(1), Feb 2017.

Chao Ariana M, Shaw Jena A, Pearl Rebecca L, Alamuddin Naji, Hopkins Christina M, Bakizada Zayna M, Berkowitz Robert I, Wadden Thomas A: Prevalence and psychosocial correlates of food addiction in persons with obesity seeking weight reduction. Comprehensive psychiatry 73: 97-104, Feb 2017.

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 Oct 2016.

Forgeard Marie J C, Pearl Rebecca L, Cheung Joey, Rifkin Lara S, Beard Courtney, Björgvinsson Thröstur: Positive beliefs about mental illness: Associations with sex, age, diagnosis, and clinical outcomes. Journal of affective disorders 204: 197-204, Jun 2016.

Pearl Rebecca L, Puhl Rebecca M: The distinct effects of internalizing weight bias: An experimental study. Body image 17: 38-42, Jun 2016.

Pearl Rebecca L, Puhl Rebecca M, Dovidio John F: Differential effects of weight bias experiences and internalization on exercise among women with overweight and obesity. Journal of health psychology 20(12): 1626-32, Dec 2015.

back to top
Last updated: 07/11/2017
The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania
Back to Top