Personality and psychopathology differences between bariatric surgery candidates, subjects with obesity not seeking surgery management, and healthy subjects

  • Amianto FedericoEmail author
  • Angela Valentina Spalatro
  • Ilari Giorgio
  • Marzola Enrica
  • Giovanni Abbate Daga
  • Fassino Secondo
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Personality and Eating and Weight disorders



To explore personological and psychopathological characteristics in individuals with obesity presenting for bariatric surgery compared with individuals with obesity not seeking bariatric surgery and healthy individuals to help clinician decision for surgical treatment.


379 participants [160 candidates for bariatric surgery (B) vs 219 not seeking bariatric surgery (NB)] and 304 healthy subjects (HS) were assessed with a battery of well-validated psychometric tests.


The B group showed an intermediate personality profile between HS and NB. They also exhibited lower depressive and anxiety scores. Eating and attachment impairment were found lower in the B group with respect to the NB.


Candidates for bariatric surgery display advantageous personality features and lower rates in psychopathology compared to other participants with obesity. These features may represent both traits facilitating the search for a bariatric treatment, and the preferred ones selected by the surgeon. Implications for clinicians addressing obese participants towards bariatric surgery and limitations concerning “impression management” are discussed.

Level of evidence

Level III, case-control analytic study.


Obesity Bariatric surgery Personality Psychopathology Treatment choice 



The authors wish to thank Prof. Mauro Toppino for his cooperation in the recruitment of bariatric subjects and Dr. Luca Arletti for the English revision of the text.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

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 (Protocol number: CEI/17 0,028,836).

Informed consent

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

Data availability

The data sets analyzed during the current study are not publicly available, but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neurosciences Department, Psychiatry SectionUniversity of TurinTurinItaly

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