"i Thought That Being Thin Was Going to Solve All My Problems": A Qualitative Study of Body Image in Patients before and after Bariatric Surgery

Melissa Butt, Allison Wagner, Andrea Rigby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: In recent years, bariatric surgery has proven to be a leading medical intervention to help patients meet their weight loss goals. While the surgery is an effective tool patients can use in addition to lifestyle modifications, there have been inconsistent outcomes in the effect of bariatric surgery on psychopathology and quality of life. Additionally, few studies have explored patient experience with regard to body image for patients undergoing bariatric surgery. Methods: To evaluate this phenomenon, we conducted semistructured focus groups with both male and female pre-and postsurgical bariatric patients focusing on body image concerns. Results: Concepts and themes related to body image that presented in the presurgical focus groups were grouped into five main categories: surgical motivations and expectations, negative cognition and affect, physical and daily life challenges, social behavior, and social comparisons. Elicitations from postoperative groups comprised three categories: social behavior, mind/body relationships, and health and physical changes. Conclusions: The differences between the ways in which pre-and postsurgical patients spoke about their experiences in their bodies speaks directly to the importance of the complex and multidimensional constructs presented, as well as to the potential need for nuanced conversations to prepare patients for surgery and ongoing support postsurgically.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-29
Number of pages9
JournalBariatric Surgical Practice and Patient Care
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medical–Surgical

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