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Evaluating the Relationship Between Patient Interpersonal Skills and Post Bariatric Surgery Physical and Mental Health Outcomes
AuthorAhrendt, Andrew Jonathan
AdvisorFollette, William C.
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Obesity is a global problem that is associated with several negative health conditions and high economic costs. Bariatric surgery is an effective and durable treatment option for people who struggle with obesity. These surgeries have been found to lead to significant decreases in patient body weight. Despite a majority of patients experiencing significant weight loss, not all patients experience these desired results. Having higher amounts of social support has been associated with greater health outcomes across several areas of health care. However, research examining the impact that social support has on patient weight loss and mental health outcomes has yielded mixed findings. One potential explanation for this is that researchers have only examined characteristics of social support networks (e.g. network size, the closeness of relationships within a network, body sizes of network members), but have not examined patients’ interpersonal abilities to access support. This study examined the impact that interpersonal skills have on patients’ weight and mental health following bariatric surgery. Having better interpersonal skills predicted greater weight loss, an improvement in mental health, and greater levels of social support. Researchers discuss these findings through the lens of social exchange theory and offer direction for future research regarding interpersonal skills and bariatric surgery outcomes.