TOS Member Spotlight: A Conversation with Rebecca L. Pearl, Ph.D.

By Andrew Pool posted 02-02-2017 15:20


This Member Spotlight features a conversation with TOS Member Rebecca L. Pearl, Ph.D.

Q: Can you tell us your full name (with credentials), affiliation, and any leadership roles (Committees, Sections, etc.) you’ve held with TOS?

A: Rebecca L. Pearl, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Q: What is something you’ve worked on or accomplished recently for TOS?

A: My colleagues and I recently published a study in Obesity examining the relationship between weight bias internalization (or self-directed weight stigma) and metabolic syndrome among treatment-seeking individuals with obesity. We found that participants with high levels of weight bias internalization had greater odds of having metabolic syndrome than those with low levels of internalization. These findings are consistent with prior research showing that exposure to weight stigma is detrimental to health.

(Click here for the press release)

Q: How can other TOS members replicate or advance this work?

A: These findings need to be replicated in a larger sample with more diversity in race, gender, and age. More research is also needed to identify the potential biological and behavioral pathways (such as heightened stress or reduced physical activity) by which weight bias internalization may affect cardiometabolic risk. Additionally, TOS members can work toward developing and testing strategies to prevent and reduce weight bias internalization.

Q: What advice would you give to early career investigators?

A: I am very fortunate to have had incredible mentors throughout my training. Their mentorship has been instrumental in my career development. I would encourage other early career investigators to seek out mentorship if they do not already have it in place.