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Int J Qual Stud Health Well-being. 2011 Feb 15;6(1). doi: 10.3402/qhw.v6i1.5901.

Wishing for deburdening through a sustainable control after bariatric surgery.

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Department of Gastrosurgical Research and Education, Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg University, SU/Sahlgrenska, Gothenburg.


The aim of this study was an in-depth investigation of the change process experienced by patients undergoing bariatric surgery. A prospective interview study was performed prior to as well as 1 and 2 years after surgery. Data analyses of the transcribed interviews were performed by means of the Grounded Theory method. A core category was identified: Wishing for deburdening through a sustainable control over eating and weight, comprising three related categories: hoping for deburdening and control through surgery, feeling deburdened and practising control through physical restriction, and feeling deburdened and trying to maintain control by own willpower. Before surgery, the participants experienced little or no control in relation to food and eating and hoped that the bariatric procedure would be the first brick in the building of a foundation that would lead to control in this area. The control thus achieved in turn affected the participants' relationship to themselves, their roles in society, and the family as well as to health care. One year after surgery they reported established routines regarding eating as well as higher self-esteem due to weight loss. In family and society they set limits and in relation to health care staff they felt their concern and reported satisfaction with the surgery. After 2 years, fear of weight gain resurfaced and their self-image was modified to be more realistic. They were no longer totally self-confident about their condition, but realised that maintaining control was a matter of struggle to obtaining a foundation of sustainable control. Between 1 and 2 years after surgery, the physical control mechanism over eating habits started to more or less fade for all participants. An implication is that when this occurs, health care professionals need to provide interventions that help to maintain the weight loss in order to achieve a good long-term outcome.


Morbid obesity; eating behaviour; feeling of control; grounded theory; inside and outside perspective; prospective interview study; surgery

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