Date of Conferral
Patricia A. Costello
Bariatric surgery is not the panacea it was once thought to be for weight loss. Due to patient noncompliance issues, many weight loss surgery patients are relapsing and regaining the significant amounts of weight that bariatric surgery had initially helped them to lose. This failure is costly monetarily, psychologically, and medically to both the patient and to society. Using the narratives of 32 post-weight loss surgery patients, this narrative study explored: (a) whether Erikson's psychosocial stages of development occur after weight loss surgery, (b) whether successful patients (defined as those who are able to maintain their weight loss long term) have successfully navigated Erikson's stages, and (c) whether these patients formed new identities in the process. Recursive analysis and text analysis revealed noticeable trends toward developmental progress among participants after weight loss surgery, with regard to all stages in Erikson's psychosocial developmental theory. This trend suggests that participants are experiencing developmental changes after surgery and that participants who have successfully navigated psychosocial stages are at least beginning to build new identities. These findings may indicate the need for social changes in the way clinicians guide patients through the weight loss surgery process; these findings may also inspire the creation of programs that address developmental milestones, which may increase successes after weight loss surgery.