Psychosocial status in adolescents undergoing bariatric surgery

Roy J. Kim, Jessica M. Langer, Alexander W. Baker, Diane E. Filter, Noel N. Williams, David B. Sarwer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Background: Little is known about the psychosocial status of adolescents who undergo bariatric surgery. Our objective was to describe the psychological and behavioral characteristics of patients in this age group who underwent bariatric surgery at our institution. Methods: A review of clinical charts of patients aged 14-21 years who had bariatric surgery at our institution between 2000 and 2005 was conducted. Abstracted data included clinical information and the results of a psychosocial evaluation consisting of a clinical interview with a psychologist and self-reported data from the Weight and Lifestyle Inventory and the Beck Depression Inventory-II. Results: Twenty-five patient records were reviewed. Nineteen patients (76%) were female. The mean (±SD) age was 18.7∈±∈1.6 years, and mean body mass index was 50.6∈±∈7.9 kg/m2. Depression was the most common psychiatric comorbidity (68%). Abnormal eating behaviors were frequent and included binge eating (48%), rapid eating (44%), having guilt associated with eating (36%), eating until uncomfortably full (36%), loss of control (24%), eating without hunger (24%), and eating alone (20%). Sixteen patients were judged to be appropriate for surgery by the bariatric surgery team; surgery was delayed for nine patients primarily because of concerns about ability to adhere to the postoperative diet. These patients were recommended for additional dietary counseling and/or psychotherapeutic treatment prior to surgery. Conclusions: Among adolescent bariatric surgery candidates, depression and aberrant eating behaviors were very common. Early identification and management of these conditions may enable most of these patients to undergo bariatric surgery and optimize the likelihood for a successful outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-33
Number of pages7
JournalObesity Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Adolescence
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Binge eating
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Obesity
  • Psychosocial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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