Subject Area

Health care policy


Bariatric surgery (also called weight loss surgery) is often thought of as a one-day medical procedure. However, after surgery, there are long-term physical and psychological changes that each patient manages. The goal of this study was to gain deeper insights into how a patient navigates their postoperative experience after bariatric surgery, specifically examining their use of online bariatric communities. Ten semi-structured interviews were conducted, transcribed, and thematically analyzed. Three major themes were identified: (1) Mental Health, (2) Belonging to Community, (3) Support. Each theme incudes several sub-themes, showcasing a range of helpful and harmful experiences from engaging with these online communities. For example, postoperative patients often felt a sense of isolation or frustration, but by engaging with online communities, they were able to find commonalities and emotional support that even led to in-person meetings. Some also detailed the lack of mental health care and support from their surgical team, leading them to seek professional counseling or to lean more on fellow community members. Overall, this work highlights that a more comprehensive treatment plan for postoperative bariatric patients that addresses both longer-term physical and mental health would be beneficial. But for now, the community is working together to support each other.

Keywords: Bariatric Surgery, Mental Health, Social Support, Social Media


Providence College


Fall 9-16-2022

Start Date

4-8-2022 12:30 PM





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