This page is meant to provide a broad overview of my work. For the most up to date articles (many of which are linked to full text) please see my CV page. For questions about current projects, please contact me.
Over 70% of US adults have overweight or obesity. Despite a changing anthropometric make-up of the US population, weight stigma (i.e., stereotyping and devaluation of individuals on the basis of body weight) remains a pervasive and socially acceptable form of prejudice in the US. Weight is one of the most common reasons individuals report being mistreated, and weight discrimination is legal in nearly all US states (exception: Michigan) and municipalities. Obesity, particularly morbid obesity (i.e., 100 or more pounds above ideal body weight with a BMI of 35 accompanied by weight-related condition or a BMI at or above 40), is robustly tied to poor health, increased morbidity, and early mortality. However, the relationship between BMI and these health outcomes is simultaneously influenced by weight stigma. Weight stigma brings a significant amount of disadvantage and stress to the table, and the amount of variance in the relationship between BMI and health that could be accounted for by stigma is unknown, though almost certainly non-trivial. That is, weight stigma is likely exerting significant and simultaneous influences on health outcomes, and may account for much of the relationship between BMI and poor health. My work on weight stigma focuses on the multifaceted ways in which stigma processes related to devalued identities (particularly weight) set off a cascade of physiological stress responses and attempts to cope. I argue that identity, stress, and coping contribute to obesogenic (i.e., obesity inducing) and poor cardiometabolic health outcomes. My work on identity in weight stigma is concerned with intersectionality or overlapping social identities (weight, race, gender, sexuality) as they contribute to health by either protecting or exacerbating risk for cardiometabolic disease. My work on stress in weight stigma is guided by social-evaluative threat theory. I examine physiological consequences of weight stigma in order to understand how weight stigma gets under the skin to contribute to physical health problems. My work on coping with weight stigma focuses on ways in which behavioral and psychological attempts to cope with stress undermine health, particularly weight-related health and stigma-specific coping strategies
Mortality data suggest that men can expect to die approximately five years sooner than women. Masculinity plays a major role in health-related gender disparities via positive associations with risk behavior and negative associations with health promoting behavior. My research on masculinity examines health-related obstacles (e.g., admitting pain and vulnerability) which operate as threats to social identity among men embracing masculinity beliefs, and ultimately contribute to poor health outcomes. Contrary to most research on masculinity, I also seek to understand health consequences of masculinity among women. My work in identity in this area focuses on self-construal and social cognition in masculinity. My work on stress in this area tests the tenants of precarious manhood theory via physiological reactivity (i.e., do masculinity threats induce physiological stress) and examines how masculinity contributes to physical health through stress reactivity, and risk behavior. My work on coping and masculinity has examined how men cope with pain (social, emotional, physical) as a function of their masculine attitudes, and whether masculine prescriptions can be harnessed to protect rather than exacerbate men's health.