Testing a model of body image in the bariatric surgery patient

Julie A. Varns, Anne F. Fish, J. Christopher Eagon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose was to test a published model of body image in the bariatric surgery patient in the clinical office setting. Background: A model was created based on clinical observations during field work and the literature. It focuses on five concepts of body image: body attitude, body checking, appearance orientation, perceived body size, and perceived body space. Testing this model 3 months after surgery is important because morphology changes rapidly influencing early changes in body image, yet there is a paucity of research at this time point. Methods: For this study of 67 bariatric surgery patients, sequential sampling was used. Body image and anthropometric measures (body mass index and other weight loss indicators) were obtained at baseline and 3-months postoperatively. Established model testing criteria were used. Results: Over 3 months, mean body mass index was significantly reduced. Mean body image was significantly improved regarding all concepts in the model, except body checking. Body image improvement varied widely when individual responses were examined. Conclusions: The model was successfully tested. Data on the five concepts in the model provided a body image profile at 3 months indicating individuals' degree of improvement. Areas of non-improvement in the early postoperative phase may signal the need for interventions, like support or psychological counseling, for patients who might be struggling with views of themselves after surgery. Preliminary recommendations are made regarding several of the instruments and their use clinically. Researchers should take into consideration the study's short 3-month time frame when designing future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number151228
JournalApplied Nursing Research
StatePublished - Apr 2020


  • Anthropometric measures
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Body image
  • Extreme obesity


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