Rebecca L. Pearl, PhD

Dr. Rebecca L. Pearl
Dr. Rebecca L. Pearl

Rebecca L. Pearl, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and Director of Research at the Penn Center for Weight and Eating Disorders. She received her B.A. from Duke University and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Yale University. She completed her pre-doctoral clinical internship at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School and her post-doctoral fellowship at Penn.

Dr. Pearl’s research primarily investigates weight stigma and its associated health outcomes. She is particularly interested in understanding and reducing internalized or self-directed stigma among patients with obesity. Her work explores biosocial mechanisms by which stigma affects health, as well as structural-level processes that may perpetuate or prevent stigma (such as in health care, policy, and the media). Dr. Pearl is currently conducting a randomized controlled trial to test the effects of a weight stigma-reduction intervention on weight, health behaviors, and cardiometabolic risk. Her research is supported by a K23 Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the NIH.  

In addition to weight, Dr. Pearl also conducts research on other forms of health- and appearance-based stigma, including due to aging, mental illness, skin disease, and craniofacial differences. 

 Dr. Pearl can be contacted at: University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, 3535 Market St., 3rd Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19104 215-746-5129. Her e-mail address is

Dr. Pearl will be joining the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology faculty at the University of Florida beginning in December 2020.

Recent publications include:

Pearl RL, Wadden TA, Bach C, et al. (2020). Effects of a cognitive-behavioral intervention targeting weight stigma: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology; 88(5): 470-80. 

Pearl RL, Wan MT, Takeshita J, Gelfand JM (2019). Stigmatizing attitudes toward persons with psoriasis among laypersons and medical students. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology; 80(6): 1556-63.

Pearl RL (2018). Weight bias and stigma: Public health implications and structural solutions. Social Issues and Policy Review; 12(1): 146-82. 

Pearl RL, Puhl RM. (2018). Weight bias internalization and health: A systematic review. Obesity Reviews; 19(8): 1141-63.

Pearl RL, Wadden TA, Hopkins CM et al. (2017). Association between weight bias internalization and metabolic syndrome among treatment-seeking individuals with obesity. Obesity; 25(2): 317-22.



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