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Causal Attributions for Obesity Among Patients Seeking Surgical Versus Behavioral/Pharmacological Weight Loss Treatment

  • Rebecca L. Pearl
  • Thomas A. Wadden
  • Kelly C. Allison
  • Ariana M. Chao
  • Naji Alamuddin
  • Robert I. Berkowitz
  • Olivia Walsh
  • Jena Shaw Tronieri
Brief Communication

Abstract

Obesity is frequently attributed to causes such as laziness and lack of willpower and personal responsibility. The current study identified causal attributions for obesity among patients seeking bariatric surgery and compared them to those among patients seeking less invasive weight loss treatment (behavioral/pharmacological). The 16-item Causal Attributions for Obesity scale (CAO; rated 1–7) was administered to 102 patients seeking bariatric surgery (sample 1) and 178 patients seeking behavioral/pharmacological weight loss treatment (sample 2). Between-subjects analyses compared CAO ratings for the two samples. Results showed that behavioral factors were the highest-rated attributions in both samples. Sample 1 had higher ratings of biological and environmental factors than did sample 2. Overall, patients seeking bariatric surgery had a more complex conceptualization of obesity than did patients seeking behavioral/pharmacological treatment. Trial registration: NCT02388568

Keywords

Attributions Obesity Personal responsibility 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Dr. Noel Williams for assistance with participant recruitment and data collection.

Funding

This study was supported, in part, by an investigator-initiated grant, on behalf of the University of Pennsylvania, from Eisai Co (TAW). RLP is supported by a mentored patient-oriented research career development award from NHLBI/NIH (#K23HL140176). AMC is supported by a mentored patient-oriented research career development award from NINR/NIH (#K23NR017209).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

RLP discloses serving as a consultant for Weight Watchers, as well as receiving grant support outside of the current work from Weight Watchers. TAW discloses serving on advisory boards for Novo Nordisk and Weight Watchers, as well as receiving grant support, on behalf of the University of Pennsylvania, from Eisai Co during the conduct of this study. KCA discloses serving as a consultant for Weight Watchers and receiving grant support, on behalf of the University of Pennsylvania from Novo Nordisk. AMC discloses receiving grant support from Shire Pharmaceuticals, outside the current work. NA discloses serving as a consultant for Novo Nordisk. RIB discloses serving as a consultant to Eisai Co. JST discloses serving as a consultant for Novo Nordisk. OW has no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Ethical Statement

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Consent Statement

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Weight and Eating Disorders, Department of PsychiatryPerelman School of Medicine at the University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Edwin & Fannie Gray Hall Center for Human Appearance, Department of SurgeryPerelman School of Medicine at the University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences, School of NursingUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.Institute for Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism, Department of MedicinePerelman School of Medicine at the University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  5. 5.Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesChildren’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA

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