Date of Conferral
Obesity is an epidemic that can lead to a wide range of physical and mental problems. When traditional weight-loss methods are not effective, bariatric surgery is a viable weight-loss option. While previous researchers have investigated the role of psychological factors in relation to obesity, few have investigated psychological factors as predictors of weight loss and complications after bariatric surgery. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of psychological disorders/conditions (e.g., depression and abuse) in the study population, evaluate weight and psychosocial variables before and 6 months after weight-loss surgery, and identify psychosocial factors that are predictors of weight loss and complications at 5 years post surgery. Three theoretical foundations were important to the present study: the transtheoretical model of behavior change, interpersonal processes, and protection motivation theory. Methods included a retrospective review of archival data of 93 individuals who elected to undergo bariatric surgery, were age 18+, had a BMI > 40kg/m2, and had obesity-related medical conditions Paired sample t tests were used to determine statistically significant changes before and after surgery. Multiple regression was used to predict success of bariatric surgery (measured by weight loss and no or few postsurgical complications). Results indicated that a high proportion (66.7%) of this sample had a behavioral health condition. Weight, depression, and obesity-related quality of life improved at 6 months post surgery. Poor obesity-related quality of life was significant at predicting more weight loss at 5 years postsurgery. Potential social changes may include future development of generalizable methods/tools to determine proper candidates for bariatric surgery, leading to a healthier community and lower healthcare costs.