Obesity Surgery

, Volume 22, Issue 11, pp 1790–1797 | Cite as

Do Postoperative Psychotherapeutic Interventions and Support Groups Influence Weight Loss Following Bariatric Surgery? A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized and Nonrandomized Trials

  • Nina N. Beck
  • Maja Johannsen
  • René K. Støving
  • Mimi Mehlsen
  • Robert Zachariae


Bariatric surgery is currently considered the most effective treatment of severe obesity, but considerable individual variations in weight loss results have been reported. We therefore conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies investigating the effect of psychotherapeutic interventions and support groups on weight loss following bariatric surgery. A literature search was conducted in the databases PubMed and PsycINFO, identifying nine eligible studies reporting results of the effect of psychotherapeutic interventions and support groups on weight loss following bariatric surgery. The results revealed a statistically significant overall effect of both psychotherapeutic interventions and support groups on weight loss (pooled effect size correlation (ESr) = 0.18; p < 0.0001). When comparing the effect sizes of psychotherapeutic interventions and support groups, no difference was found (p = 0.51). Higher quality studies had smaller effect sizes (0.16) than studies with low quality scores (0.22), but the difference did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.26). Patients attending psychotherapeutic interventions or support groups in combination with bariatric surgery appeared to experience greater weight loss results than patients treated with bariatric surgery only. However, research in this area is characterized by a lack of methodological rigor, and it is recommended that future study designs include randomization and active attention control conditions.


Bariatric surgery Psychotherapeutic intervention Support groups Weight loss 


Conflict of interest

The authors Nina N. Beck, Maja Johannsen, René K. Støving, Mimi Mehlsen, and Robert Zachariae declare to have no conflict of interest. This study was not funded by any external sources.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nina N. Beck
    • 1
  • Maja Johannsen
    • 2
    • 3
  • René K. Støving
    • 4
  • Mimi Mehlsen
    • 2
    • 3
  • Robert Zachariae
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, National Research Center of PsychotraumatologyUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdense MDenmark
  2. 2.Unit for Psychooncology and Health Psychology, Department of PsychologyAarhus UniversityAarhus CDenmark
  3. 3.Department of OncologyAarhus University HospitalAarhus CDenmark
  4. 4.Department of Endocrinology and Centre for Eating DisordersOdense University HospitalOdense CDenmark

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