Do psychosocial variables predict weight loss or mental health after obesity surgery? A systematic review

Obes Res. 2004 Oct;12(10):1554-69. doi: 10.1038/oby.2004.195.


Objective: The objective of this study was to present a systematic review of psychological and psychosocial predictors of weight loss and mental health after bariatric surgery. This systematic review included all controlled and noncontrolled trials of the last 2 decades with either a retrospective or prospective design and a follow-up period of at least 1 year.

Research methods and procedures: The relevant literature was identified by a search of computerized databases. All articles published in English and German between 1980 and 2002 were reviewed.

Results: Using the above inclusion/exclusion criteria, 29 articles were identified focusing on psychosocial predictors of weight loss and mental health after obesity surgery.

Discussion: Personality traits have no predictive value for the postoperative course of weight or mental state. Apart from serious psychiatric disorders including personality disorders, psychiatric comorbidity seems to be of more predictive value for mental and physical well-being as two essential aspects of quality of life than for weight loss postsurgery. However, depressive and anxiety symptoms as correlates of psychological stress with regard to obesity seem to be positive predictors of weight loss postsurgery. The severity of the symptoms or the disorder is more relevant for the outcome of obesity surgery than the specificity of the symptoms. It is also not solely the consumption of distinct "forbidden" foods, such as sweets or soft drinks, but rather a general hypercaloric eating behavior, either as an expression of the patient's inadequate compliance or a dysregulation in energy balance, which is associated with a poor weight loss postsurgery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Bariatrics*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Mental Health*
  • Obesity, Morbid / psychology*
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Quality of Life
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss