Thursday, 31 August 2017

Research Presentation on the psychosocial basis of bariatric surgery by Dr Martin Johnson - Tuesday 5th Sept

The School of Psychology’s Social and Organisational Psychology Research Group invites you to a research presentation by Rev.Dr Martin Johnson (UON School of Psychology).
When: 12.00pm – 1.00pm on Tuesday 5th August
Where: The Keats Reading Room, Psychology/Aviation Building (AVLG17), with video link to the Seminar Room, Science Offices at Ourimbah.

TITLE: Psychosocial predictors of obesity in patients seeking bariatric surgery identifying moderating factors of postoperative outcomes: A pilot study

ABSTRACT: The current research examines the effect of psychosocial factors and motivations of patients seeking bariatric surgery on pre-operative weight and post-operative outcomes. A sample of 108 clinically obese women seeking bariatric surgery were recruited into the study. Participants were sourced from bariatric support groups and were given a battery of psychological measures six months prior to surgery and then followed up six months post-surgery. Hierarchal regression identified psychosocial and motivational variables which predicted pre-surgery weight and weight loss following bariatric surgery. In terms of pre-surgery weight, a history of trauma, particularly sexual trauma, accounted for the greatest amount of the variance. While levels of depression and anxiety initially predicted weight, they did not independently contribute to the final model. In addition, external motivations for weight loss also positively predicated pre-operative weight. At six months post-surgery, trauma and depression negatively predicted weight loss; while internal motivations for surgery predicted more weight loss and external motivation predicted less successful outcomes post-surgery. We found that within this obese sample there was a significantly higher rate of trauma than what would be expected in the general population. Our findings suggest that a history of trauma is a significant risk factor in obesity. Female bariatric patients with a history of trauma and unresolved depression have poorer post-operative outcomes. Individuals who choose to have bariatric surgery for internal motivational reasons have more positive post-operative outcomes. These finding should only be taken as indicative, due to the sample size, a larger scale study is needed. However, the findings point to the need to screen bariatric patients for a history of trauma  and consequential depression  prior to surgery. Further research is needed to assess whether there is utility in providing preoperative psychological intervention for obese patients with a trauma history. Excess weight is far more complicated that a simple relationship between calorie intake and energy used.  This presentation highlights how obese individuals are more likely to have a history of trauma (particularly sexual trauma) compared to the general population; and that having such a history is a predictor of weight and less successful outcomes following bariatric surgery. The presentation also explores how initial motivations (either external or internal) for weight loss surgery predicts weight loss outcomes.

SHORT BIO: Martin is a health psychologist; his current research and practice interest is in bariatric psychology.