Obesity Surgery

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 161–167 | Cite as

Psychological Characteristics of Morbidly Obese Candidates for Bariatric Surgery

  • V. Abilés
  • S. Rodríguez-Ruiz
  • J. Abilés
  • C. Mellado
  • A. García
  • A. Pérez de la Cruz
  • M. C. Fernández-Santaella
Research Article



Morbid obesity has multiple negative consequences for psychological health. These patients are described as depressed, anxious, and impulsive, with low self-esteem and impaired quality of life. The severity of these psychological disorders has been related to the degree of obesity. The aim of this study was to analyze the psychopathological characteristics of obese candidates for bariatric surgery, determining differences and similarities in general and specific psychopathologic symptoms among patients with different degrees of obesity and normal-weight individuals.


The study included 50 patients (26 type III obesity, 24 type IV obesity) and 25 normal-weight volunteers. They were all assessed for: stress (CED44-B), anxiety–depression (General Health Questionnaire), self-esteem (Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale), family function (Apgar Family Function Questionnaire), quality of life (Spanish version of the Quality of Life Index), personality (Eysenck Personality Questionnaire-Revised), food craving (Food Craving Questionnaire-Trait), and eating behavior disorder (EBD) symptomatology (Eating Disorders ExaminationQuestionnaire Version-4).


The obese patients had higher levels of stress, anxiety, depression, food craving, and EBD symptoms and lower levels of self-esteem and quality of life compared with normal-weight controls. No personality or family function disorders were observed in any of the obese or normal-weight subjects. Patients with type III and type IV obesity differed only in anxiety and personality findings.


Although the presence of psychological disorders cannot be taken as an absolute criterion for exclusion of candidates for obesity surgery, a better understanding of the relationship of these variables with weight loss and other outcomes of bariatric surgery may improve patient selection and facilitate more appropriate interventions.


Morbid obesity Anxiety Depression Self-stem Eating behavior disorders Bariatric surgery 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Abilés
    • 1
  • S. Rodríguez-Ruiz
    • 2
  • J. Abilés
    • 1
  • C. Mellado
    • 1
  • A. García
    • 3
  • A. Pérez de la Cruz
    • 1
  • M. C. Fernández-Santaella
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Clinical Nutrition and DieteticsVirgen de las Nieves University HospitalGranadaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Personality, Treatment, and Evaluation, School of PsychologyUniversity of GranadaGranadaSpain
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryVirgen de las Nieves University HospitalGranadaSpain

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