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Rebecca Pearl - University of Florida. Gainesville, FL, US

Rebecca Pearl

Assistant Professor | University of Florida

Gainesville, FL, UNITED STATES

Rebecca Pearl conducts research on health and appearance-based stigma, body image, eating disorders and obesity.


Rebecca Pearl conducts research on health and appearance-based stigma, with a primary focus on weight stigma. Rebecca's other clinical and research interests include body image, eating disorders and obesity. Rebecca directs the Body Image and Stigma (BIAS) lab, which investigates visible stigma and its associated health outcomes. 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).

Areas of Expertise (4)


Eating Disorders

Body Image


Articles (4)

Effects of a Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention Targeting Weight Stigma: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology

Rebecca Pearl, et. al


To test the effects of a cognitive-behavioral intervention for weight bias internalization combined with behavioral weight loss (BWL). Adults with obesity and elevated WBI were randomly assigned to BWL alone or combined with the Weight Bias Internalization and Stigma Program (BWL+BIAS). Participants attended weekly group meetings for 12 weeks, followed by 2 bi-weekly and 2 monthly meetings (26 weeks total).

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Prevalence and correlates of weight bias internalization in weight management: A multinational study

SSM - Population Health

Rebecca Pearl, et. al


Weight bias internalization (WBI) is an understudied form of internalized stigma, particularly among treatment-seeking adults with overweight/obesity. The current study surveyed 13,996 adults currently engaged in weight management in the first multinational study of WBI. From May to July 2020, participants in six Western countries completed the Modified Weight Bias Internalization Scale (WBIS-M) and measures of weight change, health behaviors, psychosocial well-being and health-related quality of life (HRQOL).

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Weight Bias Internalization and Health: A Systematic Review

Obesity Reviews

Rebecca Pearl, et. al


A robust literature has documented the negative health effects of being the target of weight bias. Weight bias internalization (WBI) occurs when individuals apply negative weight stereotypes to themselves and self-derogate because of their body weight. Compared to experiences of weight bias, less is known about the relationship between WBI and mental and physical health, although more literature on this topic has emerged in recent years.

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Association Between Weight Bias Internalization and Metabolic Syndrome Among Treatment-Seeking Individuals with Obesity


Rebecca Pearl, et. al


Weight stigma is a chronic stressor that may increase cardiometabolic risk. Some individuals with obesity self-stigmatize (i.e., weight bias internalization; WBI). No study to date has examined whether WBI is associated with metabolic syndrome. Blood pressure, waist circumference, fasting glucose, triglycerides and HDL cholesterol were measured at baseline in 178 adults with obesity enrolled in a weight-loss trial.

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