Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP, Chair, Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Stacey Cahn, PhD, Chairperson

Second Advisor

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP

Third Advisor

Ralph Petrucci, EdD, ABPP, ABCN


Obesity is a major public health problem involving both medical and quality-of-life
issues. During the past 20 years, obesity has dramatically increased and is currently at an all-time high (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011). More than two thirds of the adult population in the United States is estimated to be overweight, with over one third of the population classified as obese (National Institute of Health, 2009). While attempting to lose weight is common, calorie reduction combined with physical activity typically results in 5 to 10 % reduction of body weight over a 6-month period, yet these moderate losses are rarely sustained (Tsai & Wadden, 2005; Yanovski & Yanovski, 2002). Consequently, bariatric surgery has increased in popularity. Unfortunately, the surgical treatment for morbid obesity can fail with unchanged lifestyle or eating behaviors, and thus a better understanding of the factors that lead to postsurgical weight loss success is important. This study investigates three variables of weight loss outcomes following bariatric surgery: a) support group attendance, b) age of onset of obesity, and c) preoperative weight loss. Results indicate that individuals with greater support group attendance had greater excess weight loss at 12 months following bariatric surgery. Neither age of onset of obesity nor preoperative weight loss was correlated with weight loss success following surgery. Recommendations for future research are made to understand further the life-long weight management needs of the obese individual following bariatric surgery.