Rebecca L. Pearl, Ph.D.

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Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Department: Psychiatry
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
3535 Market Street
3rd Floor
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, Wadden TA, Bach C, Tronieri JS, Berkowitz RI: Six-month follow-up from a randomized controlled trial of the Weight BIAS program Obesity Advance online publication, Aug 2020.

Pearl RL: Weight stigma and the "quarantine-15" Obesity 28(7): 1180-1, Jul 2020.

Wan MT, Pearl RL, Fuxench ZCC, Takeshita J, Gelfand JM: Anticipated and perceived stigma among patients with psoriasis Journal of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Advance online publication, Jun 2020.

Pearl RL, Wadden TA, Bach C, Leonard SM, Michel KE: Effects of dog and owner body weight on veterinarian perceptions Oral presentation at the 20th Annual American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Clinical Nutrition and Research Symposium (conducted online due to COVID-19) Jun 2020.

Pearl RL, Wadden TA, Bach C, Leonard SM, Michel, KE: Who’s a good boy? Effects of dog and owner body weight on veterinarian perceptions and treatment recommendations International Journal of Obesity Advance online publication, Jun 2020.

Himmelstein MS, Puhl RM, Pearl RL, Pinto AM, Foster GD: Coping with weight stigma among adults in a commercial weight management sample International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. Advance online publication, May 2020.

Pearl RL, Wadden TA, Bach C, Gruber K, Leonard S, Walsh OA, Tronieri JS, Berkowitz RI : Effects of a cognitive-behavioral intervention targeting weight stigma: A randomized controlled trial Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 88(5): 470-80, May 2020.

Pearl RL, Puhl RM, Himmelstein MS, Pinto AM, Foster GD: Weight stigma and weight-related health: Associations of self-report measures among adults in weight management Annals of Behavioral Medicine Advance online publication, Apr 2020.

Goss AL, Rethy L, Pearl RL, DeLisser HM: The “difficult” cadaver”: A mixed-methods study of weight bias in gross anatomy Medical Education Online 25(1): 1742966, Mar 2020.

Puhl RM, Himmelstein MS, Pearl RL: Weight stigma as a psychosocial contributor to obesity American Psychologist 75(2): 274-89, Feb 2020.

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Last updated: 09/22/2020
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