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Joanne A Rathbone

PhD Social Psychology

About Me

I am a social and health psychology researcher. I use theory-driven and applied methods to investigate social determinants of health and behaviour, with a particular focus on weight stigma, social identities, and intergroup relations.


I completed my PhD in social psychology at the University of Queensland in November 2021. My thesis examined novel psychological and social determinants of weight stigma and discrimination and the implications for public and primary health care. I am currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Australian National University. I am also an Honorary Fellow at the University of Queensland and an Honorary Fellow with the Body Confident Collective

You can download my CV here

Research Areas

Weight stigma & discrimination

Understanding the social psychological factors that predict and legitimise weight stigma and discrimination, and the consquences for behaviour and health

Social identity, health & behaviour

How social identities influence people's beliefs, behaviours, and their health and well-being

Social Change

Harnessing social change processes to create change both among individuals and within social groups, systems, and structures 

Featured Publications

Non-stigmatising alternatives to anti-obesity public health messages: Consequences for health behaviour and well-being

Weight-inclusive public health messages have psychological benefits for people of all body sizes and provide a promising alternative to traditional weight-stigmatising message frames. 

Friends at the Beach
Doctor's Desk
When stigma is the norm: How weight and social norms influence the healthcare we receive

Health professionals who perceived weight stigma to be more
normative among their colleagues displayed a hyper-vigilance toward weight in their treatment approach for both higher weight and "average" weight patients.

Groups 4 Health versus Cognitive Behaviour Therapy in young people with depression and loneliness: A randomized, phase 3, non-inferiority trial with 12 month follow-up.

Groups 4 Health was found to be non-inferior to gold standard CBT in reducing depression and loneliness among young people, and even outperformed CBT in reducing loneliness at 12 month follow-up.

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