Psychological contributors to noncompletion of an adolescent preoperative bariatric surgery program

Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2017 Jan;13(1):58-64. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2016.08.020. Epub 2016 Aug 18.


Background: Noncompletion of preoperative bariatric programs is a significant problem among adolescents. Adult studies suggest that psychological factors contribute to noncompletion of preoperative bariatric programs.

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the association between adolescent psychological functioning and completion of the preoperative phase of a bariatric program.

Setting: The study was conducted at a tertiary care children's hospital affiliated with a university medical center.

Methods: Seventy-four adolescents and their parents completed an assessment measure of psychological functioning with the Behavior Assessment System for Children, Second Edition. We compared these scores between adolescents who completed the preoperative phase of the bariatric program and proceeded to surgery (completers) to those who did not (noncompleters) using multivariate analysis of covariance and logistic regression analyses, adjusting for demographic characteristics and baseline body mass index.

Results: The mean age was 16.0 (1.1) years, most were female (79.8%), and the group was diverse (48.6%, Caucasian; 33.8%, black; 17.6%, other, including Hispanic, Asian, and biracial). Average body mass index was 50.5 (7.6) kg/m2. Forty-two percent of participants were noncompleters. Noncompleters were reported by parents to have more clinically significant externalizing and internalizing behaviors and fewer adaptive behaviors. Noncompleters self-reported more clinically significant internalizing symptoms, emotional problems, and poor personal adjustment.

Conclusion: Adolescents who did not complete the preoperative phase of a bariatric surgery program had more clinically significant psychological symptoms across multiple domains compared with those who successfully proceeded to bariatric surgery. Early identification and treatment of psychological symptoms may be important in helping adolescents successfully proceed to surgery.

Keywords: Adolescence; Attrition; Pediatric obesity; Weight loss Surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology
  • Adolescent
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Gastroplasty / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / ethnology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Patient Compliance / ethnology
  • Patient Compliance / psychology*
  • Pediatric Obesity / ethnology
  • Pediatric Obesity / psychology*
  • Preoperative Care / psychology
  • Weight Reduction Programs