Attachment anxiety predicts poor adherence to dietary recommendations: an indirect effect on weight change one year after gastric bypass surgery

F. Aarts, R. Geenen, V.E.A. Gerdes, A. Van de Laar, A., D.P.M. Brandjes, C. Hinnen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Weight loss after gastric bypass surgery depends on the adoption of healthy dietary recommendations, which may be influenced by psychological issues and patients' attachment representations (habitual states of mind with respect to interpersonal relations). The present study tests (1) whether attachment representations are associated with dietary adherence, (2) whether dietary adherence and weight loss are correlated and (3) whether dietary adherence mediates the relation of attachment representations with weight reduction after gastric bypass surgery. Besides attachment representations, psychological problems are examined.

METHODS: This longitudinal study included 105 patients who had a laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass operation. Current and past psychological problems and attachment representations were assessed before surgery. Dietary adherence was assessed 6 and 12 months postsurgery. Patients' weight and height were collected from medical records. Multiple linear and logistic regression analyses and mediation analyses using bootstrapping resampling procedures were conducted.

RESULTS: Of all examined predictor variables, attachment anxiety, i.e., fear of social rejection and abandonment, was most strongly associated with low dietary adherence at both 6 months (p = 0.009) and 12 months (p = 0.006) postsurgery. Dietary adherence 6 months postsurgery was associated with weight loss 1 year after the operation (p = 0.003). Dietary adherence at 6 months (β = 0.51; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.19-1.04) mediated the association between preoperative attachment anxiety and postoperative weight loss.

CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that more anxiously attached patients are less adherent to dietary recommendations 6 months after gastric bypass surgery, influencing weight loss in a negative way during the first year after surgery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)666-672
Number of pages7
JournalObesity Surgery
Issue number4
Early online date10 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Gastric Bypass
  • Humans
  • Longtidunal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Morbid
  • Object Attachent
  • Patient Compliance
  • Postoperative Period
  • Prognosis
  • Questionnaires
  • Reccomended Dietary Allowances
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss
  • Young Adult


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