Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. Jennifer D. Irwin


The overall purpose of this dissertation was to examine what is needed in bariatric surgery programming to support long-term health and well-being from the perspectives of the patient and providers. Study 1 assessed what bariatric surgery recipients perceive they need to best support their long-term health and well-being from a provincial sample (Ontario, Canada), and from an international sample. Study 2 explored the physical, psychological, social, and clinic-related experiences of individuals who underwent bariatric surgery at least two years prior. Study 3 investigated what bariatric clinic staff believe surgery recipients need to best support their long-term health and well-being.

Findings from study 1 identified encouragement from family, friends, bariatric team members, and peers as the most useful sources of support and services over the course of the surgery process. Access to immediate follow-up appointments after surgery for post-surgery concerns was reported as needed but not received. Recommendations to address excess skin and creating a mentorship program were proposed by participants.

The results from Study 2 revealed that in general, participants experienced positive improvements in their physical, psychological, and social states since surgery. However, concerns pertaining to several unanticipated outcomes of the surgery were underscored and informed the recommendations for other patients, including being prepared to re-learn ones’ body, utilizing the support services available, and being aware that social relationships may change and/or require tending.

The results from Study 3 identified follow-up appointments, bariatric surgery-related education, and assessing readiness to change as the most helpful aids by bariatric clinic staff for patients. A lack of ongoing counselling, financial support for excess skin removal, family physicians with expertise in bariatric surgery, and access to allied health professionals were deemed needed but unavailable. Bariatric clinic staff believed that offering one-on-one counselling, and providing education and resources for Family Health Teams and others may be able to address the challenges faced by bariatric surgery recipients.

Overall, these three studies serve as the groundwork for future bariatric programming development, and tailoring components for optimal long-term health outcomes. This summary of work also provides an in-depth understanding of the experiences, insights, and challenges of bariatric surgery recipients and bariatric clinic staff in obesity management.