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 Clinical Expertise

Behavioral weight loss treatment; cognitive-behavioral therapy; dialectical behavior therapy; pre-operative assessment of patients seeking bariatric surgery

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

Rebecca L. Pearl, Thomas A. Wadden, Kelly C. Allison, Ariana M. Chao, Naji Alamuddin1,Robert I. Berkowitz, Olivia Walsh, Jena Shaw Tronieri: Causal Attributions for Obesity Among Patients Seeking Surgical Versus Behavioral/Pharmacological Weight Loss Treatment. Obesity Surgery 28(11): 3724-3728, Nov 2018.

Pearl RL, Percec I.: Ageism and Health in Patients Undergoing Cosmetic Procedures. Aesthetic Surgery Journal Oct 2018 Notes: DOI: 10.1093/asj/sjy283. [EPub ahead of print]

Pearl RL, Wadden TA, Chao AM, Walsh O, Alamuddin N, Berkowitz RI, Tronieri JS.: Weight Bias Internalization and Long-Term Weight Loss in Patients with Obesity. Annals of Behavioral Medicine Oct 2018 Notes: doi: 10.1093/abm/kay084. [Epub ahead of print]

Chao AM, Wadden TA, Pearl RL, Alamuddin N, Leonard SM, Bakizada ZM, Pinkasavage E, Gruber KA, Walsh OA, Berkowitz RI, Alfaris N, Tronieri JS.: A randomized controlled trial lorcaserin and lifestyle counseling for weight loss maintenance: changes in emotion and stress related eating, food cravings, and appetite. Clinical Obesity Sep 2018 Notes: DOI: 10.1111/cob.12279. [Epub ahead of print]

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

Pearl RL, Wan MT, Takeshita J, Gelfand JM: Stigmatizing attitudes toward persons with psoriasis among laypersons and medical students. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2(9): S0190-9622, 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 2(9): 1335, 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.

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Last updated: 11/06/2018
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