Childhood maltreatment and psychiatric morbidity in bariatric surgery candidates

Obes Surg. 2008 Mar;18(3):306-13. doi: 10.1007/s11695-007-9292-y. Epub 2008 Jan 12.


Background: This study used standardized assessments to evaluate the association between childhood maltreatment (i.e., emotional, physical, and sexual abuse and emotional and physical neglect) and Axis I and II psychiatric disorders in patients presenting for bariatric surgery.

Methods: Participants (N = 230) provided demographic information and completed the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, short form. The Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM-IV was used to assess Axis I clinical disorders and Axis II personality disorders.

Results: Approximately 66% of participants had a history of childhood maltreatment. Individuals reporting childhood maltreatment had a greater number of lifetime Axis I diagnoses than did those without, although the effect for physical neglect was no longer significant after controlling for multiple comparisons. With respect to specific Axis I diagnoses, a history of emotional or sexual abuse was associated with increased rates of lifetime mood and anxiety disorder diagnoses. Emotional neglect also was associated with increased rates of mood disorder diagnoses, and physical abuse was associated with increased rates of substance use disorders. There was no significant association between childhood maltreatment and personality psychopathology.

Conclusion: This study confirms high rates of childhood maltreatment in patients presenting for bariatric surgery that are associated with increased prevalence of lifetime mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders. Future prospective studies should include evaluation of a broad range of mental health and childhood experiences to tease apart the nature of the relationships between these factors and their potential impact on post-surgical outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / complications
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Bariatric Surgery*
  • Child
  • Child Abuse*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mood Disorders / complications
  • Mood Disorders / diagnosis
  • Obesity, Morbid / psychology*
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery
  • Personality Disorders / complications
  • Personality Disorders / diagnosis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires