Psychopathology in bariatric surgery candidates: A review of studies using structured diagnostic interviews

Sarah Malik, James E. Mitchell, Scott Engel, Ross Crosby, Steve Wonderlich

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Psychiatric disorders are not uncommon among severely obese patients who present for bariatric surgery. This paper (1) reviews the results of the published studies using the structured interviews to assess psychopathology in bariatric surgery candidates; (2) compares the prevalence rates of psychiatric disorders across these studies with the data from other population samples; and (3) assesses whether sociodemographic variables appear to affect these prevalence rates. We searched online resources, PubMed, PsychINFO and reference lists of all the relevant articles to provide an overview of evidence so far and highlight some details in the assessment and comparisons of different samples in different countries. The prevalence estimates in the non-treatment obese group did not appear to differ substantially from the general population group in the US or the Italian population samples, although they were relatively higher for the German population. However, the rates of psychopathology in the bariatric surgery candidates were considerably higher than the other two population groups in all the samples. Overall, the most common category of lifetime Axis I disorders in all the studies was affective disorders, with anxiety disorders being the most common category of current Axis I disorders. Certain demographic characteristics are also associated with higher rates of psychopathology, such as, female gender, low socioeconomic status, higher BMI. Overall, methodological and sociodemographic differences make these studies difficult to compare and these differences should be taken into account when interpreting the results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-259
Number of pages12
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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