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Psychosocial and behavioral correlates of weight loss 12 to 15 years after bariatric surgery

Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Katy W. Martin-Fernandez, David B. Creel, Leslie M. Schuh
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While significant weight loss occurs post-bariatric surgery, partial weight regain is common. Psychological and dispositional variables have been examined as predictors of weight change, but most studies have focused on the relationship of preoperative constructs to shorter-term postoperative outcomes. The goal of the current study was to examine associations between weight loss and postoperative psychosocial and behavioral factors up to an average of 13.7 years after surgery. The current study was conducted at a large bariatric center in a Midwestern U.S. city. The sample was comprised of 125 adult patients who participated in the second wave of a long-term bariatric surgery outcome study, examining weight history, physical activity, and psychological health and functioning. Correlations between percent total weight loss (%TWL) and psychosocial and behavioral variables were examined. The variables that had significant correlations with %TWL were used in stepwise linear regressions to determine their contribution to %TWL. These same variables were tested to determine differences among those in the highest and lowest weight loss quartiles. Life satisfaction, conscientiousness, positive affect, and regular exercise were positively associated with weight loss in the entire sample and were significantly higher among those in the highest versus the lowest weight-loss quartile. Experiencing a stressful event and food addiction symptoms were negatively associated with weight loss. Positive affect, fewer food addiction symptoms, and regular exercise significantly predicted weight loss, accounting for 23% of the variance in %TWL. Long-term weight loss maintenance after bariatric surgery may be related to positive affect, conscientiousness, regular physical activity, and an addictive-type relationship with food. Future studies should explore these relationships and develop approaches to deal with the interaction between dispositional tendencies and lifestyle factors.

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