Psychological Assessment of Emirati Patients Pursuing Bariatric Surgery for Obesity



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Background: Obesity is currently a rapidly growing global problem of epidemic proportions and is especially prevalent in economically developed countries such as the United Arab Emirates. Obese individuals are increasingly considering bariatric surgery as their preferred means of choice for the reduction of excess body fat. This study explored the psychological characteristics that may potentially complicate the surgical management of obesity.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study of Emirati patients attending a bariatric clinic at Tawam Hospital, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, between December 2010 and February 2012. Participants were assessed using standard clinical psychiatric interviews. Also used were screening instruments such as the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS), Body Image Quality of Life Inventory (BIQLI), and Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire–Appearance Scale (MBSRQ-AS).

Results: A total of 105 patients, 70% of whom were female, participated in this study. Participants were found to have frequencies of anxiety and depressive symptoms at levels of 24% and 13%, respectively. Participants also reported perceived functional disabilities in the following: work/school (27%), social life (36%), family/home (35%), and religious duties (39%). A total of 13 participants (12%) had BIQLI scores showing slight-to-moderate effects on their quality of life. The mean MBSRQ-AS subscale on self-classified weight was higher than the reported norms. Anxiety and depressive symptoms positively correlated with functional impairment (SDS) and negatively correlated with quality of life (BIQLI) (P = .000). MBSRQ-AS subscales significantly correlated with depression, functional impairment, and quality of life (P .035).

Conclusions: Anxiety, depression, perceived functional disability, impairment in quality of life, and disturbance of self-image were found to be common among participants in the study pursuing bariatric surgery for obesity. Recognition, assessment, and treatment of these symptoms are expected to be conducive to positive outcomes of bariatric surgery.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2017;19(3):16m02090