A Contextual Behavioral Approach for Obesity Surgery Patients

Detta är en avhandling från Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Sammanfattning: This thesis investigates a contextual behavioral approach for obesity surgery patients. In a contextual approach a behavior is interpreted as inseparable from its current and historical context. Candidates for bariatric surgery often have a history of self-stigma, body dissatisfaction and eating for emotional relief. Despite losing a large amount of weight post surgery, psychological problems may still be present for some patients. One possible common underlying process observed in body concerns and eating patterns is experiential avoidance. Experiential avoidance is defined as; any attempt to avoid, change, or control unwanted thoughts and feelings when so doing causes harm.Though a multidisciplinary team is recommended for post-surgical care, there are few studies evaluating the psychological treatment of patients undergoing bariatric surgery. In this thesis a protocol based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), was developed and implemented, partly via the Internet, in a clinical setting. In an acceptance-based approach to obesity, psychological well-being is the main outcome. ACT was significantly more effective than ‘treatment as usual’ in terms of body dissatisfaction and quality of life after surgery. Both groups improved in eating disordered attitudes and behaviors. Predictions based on the underlying treatment model were also investigated. Positive treatment outcomes were found to be associated with increased psychological flexibility.  Despite some methodological limitations, the results are promising and future studies should further evaluate ACT in the context of bariatric surgery.This thesis also acknowledges the need for clinical assessment tools appropriate for the bariatric surgery context. The Acceptance and Action Questionnaire for Weight (AAQ-W) is a measure of experiential avoidance, and was evaluated in the present thesis. The AAQ-W was found to be a reliable and valid measure for people undergoing bariatric surgery. Another measure, Disordered Eating in Bariatric Surgery (DEBS) was developed and evaluated. The DEBS was found to posses satisfactory psychometric properties in terms of reliability and validity.  The AAQ-W and the DEBS may facilitate both systematic clinical evaluation and future research within the area of bariatric surgery.