Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore further whether depression is associated with problematic eating behaviors in a sample of Turkish bariatric surgery candidates.
Methods: This descriptive study included 168 consecutively seen bariatric surgery candidates in a university bariatric surgery outpatient. Participants were asked to complete the Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire (DEBQ), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and surveys assessing sociodemographic and clinical variables. Correlations and linear regression analyses were performed to evaluate the relationship between clinical and demographic variables.
Results: Participants had a mean age 37.7 ± 11.3 years and BMI of 46.4 ± 6.7 kg/m2 (SD = 6.7). According to BDI scores, 75.5 % of the patients had mild, moderate, or severe depressive symptomatology. Lower levels of depressive symptoms were associated with higher levels of restrictive eating (r = -0.17; p = 0.04), whereas higher levels of depressive symptoms were associated with more frequent eating in response to both internal (r = 0.3; p = 0.002) and external (r = 0.2; p = 0.04) cues. The BDI scores were significantly associated with increased external eating (ß = 0.03, p < 0.02) and emotional eating (ß = 0.03, p < 0.002) scores. BMI (β = -0.02, p = 0.02 > 0.1) was not associated with DEBQ total scores.
Conclusions: This research suggests that mild, moderate or severe depressive symptoms are observed in most of the bariatric surgical candidate patients. There is a positive correlation between severity of depression and emotional/external eating behaviors, and a negative correlation between severity of depression and restrictive eating behavior. Additional research is needed to determine whether treating depression preoperatively can assist with alleviating problematic eating behaviors.
Keywords: Bariatric surgery; Depression; Eating behavior; Emotional eating; Obesity.