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Comparing life adjustment after weight loss surgery with adjustment following other life changes

26 July 2013


The purpose of this study was to examine the usefulness of life events measures for understanding patients’ experience following weight loss surgery. This study investigated patient perceptions of how much accommodation was involved in their adjustment to life after weight loss surgery.

Findings indicated that the participants perceived weight loss surgery as requiring more adjustment than would be expected following a variety of significant life events, including the death of a spouse and being fired. These results suggested that the coping resources that patients used to manage such demands may be high after undergoing weight loss surgery. No significant relationships were identified between adjustment after surgery with time since surgery and satisfaction with surgery. These findings suggested the following: (a) participants reported a fairly consistent perception of the amount of adjustment involved with surgery regardless of when or if they had surgery, and (b) although surgery involved considerable adjustment, the transitioning required after surgery was not related to how satisfied they felt.

Limitations of this study included a small sample size and the use of a modified life events measure to examine overall adjustment. Increasing sample size and investigating other mediating factors and methods of examining patients’ experiences, expectations, outcome, and/or satisfaction with weight loss surgery may be useful in furthering this research. Despite limitations, medical and mental health providers can use the findings from this study to quickly convey the high level of adjustment commonly reported by patients, thereby unifying the treatment team message in an efficient and realistic way.


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