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When Mood Worsens after Gastric Bypass Surgery: Characterization of Bariatric Patients with Increases in Depressive Symptoms Following Surgery



Depression levels generally decrease substantially following bariatric surgery; however, little is known about bariatric patients who might experience increases in depression following surgery. We examined the frequency of bariatric patients who experienced discernible increases in depression levels following surgery and explored their correlates.


Participants were 107 patients with extreme obesity who underwent gastric bypass surgery and were followed up at 6 and 12 months postsurgery. Participants completed self-report questionnaires about depression (BDI), eating disorder psychopathology (EDE-Q), self-esteem (RSES), and social functioning (SF-36) at baseline and again at 6 and 12 months postsurgery.


Fourteen (13.1 %) participants reported discernible increases (BDI-Increase), 14 (13.1 %) reported discernible decreases (BDI-Decrease), and 79 (73.8 %) did not report discernible changes (no change) in BDI scores from 6 to 12 months postsurgery. Presurgically, there were no differences between the three groups. By 12 months postsurgery, the BDI-Increase group had significantly higher depression scores and significantly lower self-esteem and SF-36 mental component scores than did the other groups. For the BDI-Increase group, BDI Change was significantly associated with body mass index, self-esteem, and SF-36 physical component scores.


Findings highlight that a subgroup of individuals report discernible increases in depressive scores postsurgery and may differ in potentially clinically meaningful ways from those who do not report discernible increases in depressive symptoms. Future research is needed to better understand the long-term trajectory of patients with discernible worsening mood following gastric bypass surgery.

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This research was supported, in part, by grants K24 DK070052 and R01 DK098492 from the National Institutes of Health. No additional funding was received for the completion of this work.

Conflict of Interest

Drs. Ivezaj and Grilo declare no conflicts of interest. All provided ICMJE Conflict of Interest Forms.

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Correspondence to Valentina Ivezaj.

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Ivezaj, V., Grilo, C.M. When Mood Worsens after Gastric Bypass Surgery: Characterization of Bariatric Patients with Increases in Depressive Symptoms Following Surgery. OBES SURG 25, 423–429 (2015).

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  • Bariatric surgery
  • Gastric bypass
  • Obesity
  • Depression
  • Mood