Date of Award


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Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Nursing




Overweight and obesity have become growing threats to our nation’s health. Bariatric surgery, although its incidence has been reported to have reached a plateau, remains the most effective weight loss therapy available for the extremely (morbidly) obese. However, significant weight regain is often observed and evidence of weight loss maintenance has not been clearly or consistently demonstrated. Through the use of Self-Determination Theory as a theoretical underpinning and guiding model, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between psychological variables (weight locus of control, self-rated abilities for health practices, and self-compassion) and weight loss outcome (downward change in BMI) among adults following bariatric surgery. Using a cross-sectional, correlational design, survey data were analyzed from 138 adults across the United States. Descriptive and correlational analyses were used to examine the relationship between the study variables. The results of the analysis indicated that among patients who underwent Lap-Band surgery for weight loss and those who reported current participation in a structured/formal weight loss program, an internal weight locus of control, greater levels of self-rated abilities for health practices and self-compassion were positively correlated with BMI change. While sample sizes were small and more sophisticated multivariate statistical analyses were not possible for this study, this research provides foundational quantitative evidence to build upon through replication and further study in order to determine the psychological factors most closely associated with optimal weight loss outcomes for individuals following bariatric surgery so that more appropriate and effective targeted interventions may be developed.

Related Pillar(s)


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Nursing Commons