Changes in Relationships after Weight Loss Surgery
AuthorHeld, Jean M.
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Abstract - Weight loss surgery has potential costs and benefits both physically and psychologically for the patient and their romantic relationships. This study examines the changes in relationship maintenance behaviors as perceived prior to weight loss surgery and again after weight loss surgery. Questionnaires containing quantitative and qualitative questions were distributed via a local bariatric surgery group. Thirteen couples in which the female had had WLS completed the questionnaires. Symbolic interactionism and the exchange paradigm were utilized to detect emerging themes. For the women, six relationship maintenance behaviors showed statistical increase - openness, sharing tasks, small talk, social networking, joint activities and focus on self. In addition, engaging in positive thought processes improved. For the males, small talk showed statistical improvement. Emerging themes in the qualitative section were: joint activity and positivity, changes in strategic behavior regarding food, stigma of obesity, confidence and health, policing and surveillance and changes in sexuality. Although mostly positive outcomes some negative outcomes were also reported. Results indicate that couples are able to modify their relationship maintenance behaviors to successfully navigate the changes brought on by WLS.