Morbid obesity is the fastest growing BMI group in the U.S. and the prevalence of morbid obesity worldwide has never been higher. Bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for severe forms of obesity especially with regard to a sustained long-term weight loss. Psychological factors are thought to play an important role for maintaining the surgical weight loss. However, results from prior research examining preoperative psychological predictors of weight loss outcome are inconsistent. The aim of this article was to review more recent literature on psychological predictors of surgical weight loss.
We searched PubMed, PsycInfo and Web of Science, for original prospective studies with a sample size >30 and at least one year follow-up, using a combination of search terms such as ‘bariatric surgery’, ‘morbid obesity’, ‘psychological predictors’, and ‘weight loss’. Only studies published after 2003 were included.
19 eligible studies were identified. Psychological predictors of surgical weight loss investigated in the reviewed studies include cognitive function, personality, psychiatric disorder, and eating behaviour.
In general, recent research remains inconsistent, but the findings suggest that pre-surgical cognitive function, personality, mental health, composite psychological variables and binge eating may predict post-surgical weight loss to the extent that these factors influence post-operative eating behaviour.
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