Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Diana Rancourt, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jonathan Rottenberg, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kristen Salomon, Ph.D.


mental health, obesity, outcomes, preoperative, psychosocial


The buffering effect of social support against a range of stress-related health outcomes has been well-documented in a variety of research areas; however, no previous work has examined the applicability of this model to bariatric surgery outcomes. Additionally, based on previous evidence and relevant theoretical work, the stress-buffering effect of social support may show important gender differences. The current study examined stress, depression, social support, and patient gender as predictors of curvilinear weight loss trajectories during the first year following surgery. Data were collected using retrospective chart review. The buffering effects of three types of support were explored using growth curve modeling: structural, emotional, and functional support. On average, patients lost 27% of their total body weight between baseline and the 12 month follow up. Additionally, the current study found partial support for the stress-buffering model of social support among bariatric surgery patients. Overall, emotional and functional support appear be most relevant to weight loss/maintenance in this population; structural support did not predict weight loss or show any significant interactions with stress or depression. However, results varied depending on patient gender and whether patients reported experiencing high levels of stress (significant interaction with emotional support) or depression (significant interaction with functional support). Such findings have important implications for assessment and follow-up care after bariatric surgery, as well as for future research in this area.