Stigma, Weight, and Gender

Director: Dr. Mary Himmelstein 

Kent State University, Department of Psychological Sciences 

The SWAG lab is a social and health psychology lab directed by Dr. Mary Himmelstein within the Department of Psychological Sciences at Kent State University.  Our lab examines biopsychosocial mechanisms which influence health and disease processes.  We conduct research broadly on identity, stress, and coping processes in two main areas: weight stigma and masculinity.  

Weight Stigma

Our work on weight stigma focuses on the multifaceted ways in which stigma processes related to devalued identities set off a cascade of physiological stress responses and attempts to cope.  This work focuses on intersecting or overlapping social identities (weight, race, gender, sexuality), physical and psychological stress, as well as stigma-specific coping strategies as they contribute to health by either protecting or exacerbating risk for cardiometabolic disease. 


Our work on masculinity examines health-related obstacles (e.g., admitting pain and vulnerability) which operate as threats to social identity among men, women, and non-binary individuals.  This work focuses on how individuals construe masculine identities,  and what that means for interpersonal relationships, reactions to everyday stressors, and interactions with the healthcare system