The psychosocial impact of bariatric surgery has not been studied as diligently as the physical impact, particularly within the first 6 months following surgery. The aim of the present study was to explore psychosocial adjustment in UK bariatric candidates within this time-scale. Six female participants were purposively recruited to complete a semi-structured interview, and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to analyse their experiences. Four super-ordinate themes emerged from the interview data which were: (1) "It was me but it wasn’t me": pre-surgery identity, (2) "I don’t see myself as this fat blob of a person anymore": transforming identity, (3) "No easy road to weight loss": the challenges of living with stomach restriction, (4) "I’m letting people in more now": re-engaging with others and the world. Participant accounts highlighted a largely positive psychosocial experience following surgery. Results are discussed in support of previous literature and suggest (1) the exploration of identity more thoroughly, and (2) the importance of routine pre- and post-surgery psychosocial support to be incorporated as part of Tier 3 and 4 bariatric services.


Bariatric, Bariatric Surgery, Weight Loss, Health, Psychosocial Functioning, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

Author Bio(s)

Mark Maxwell is a Trainee Clinical Psychologist at Newcastle University and a British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist. Mark obtained his MSc degree in Health Psychology at Northumbria University and has worked clinically in bariatric teams across North East England. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: markmaxwell1406@yahoo.co.uk.


This is dedicated to each of the participants who shared their stories so generously and extended to all others adjusting to life post-bariatric surgery. I would like to thank Neill Thompson, senior lecturer from Northumbria University who supported and guided me through the research process.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.