Prevalence and short-term change in symptoms of anxiety and depression following bariatric surgery: a prospective cohort study

The By-Band-Sleeve Collaborating Group, Jonathan Gibb*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Objectives Bariatric surgery is an effective treatment for severe obesity that leads to significant physical health improvements. Few studies have prospectively described the short-term impact of surgery on mental health using standardised case-finding measures for anxiety or depressive disorders. This study describes the prevalence and short-term course of these conditions following surgery.

Design Prospective observational cohort study.

Setting 12 National Health Service centres in England.

Participants Participants studied took part in the By-Band-Sleeve study, a multicentre randomised controlled trial evaluating the surgical management of severe obesity. We included participants who had undergone surgery (gastric bypass, gastric band or sleeve gastrectomy) within 6 months of randomisation.

Primary and secondary outcome measures Anxiety and depression were assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) at baseline and 12 months post-randomisation. Sociodemographic variables collected at prerandomisation included body mass index, age, sex, ethnicity, marital status, tobacco use, employment status and income band.

Results In our sample of 758 participants, 94.5% (n 716) and 93.9% (n 712) had completed baseline anxiety (HADS-A) and depression (HADS-D) subscales. At pre-randomisation 46.1% (n 330/716, 95% CI 42.4% to 49.7%) met clinical case criteria for anxiety and 48.2% (n 343/712, 95% CI 44.5% to 51.8%) for depression. Among participants returning completed 12 months post-randomisation questionnaires (HADS-A n 503/716, HADS-D n 498/712), there was a significant reduction in the proportion of clinical cases with anxiety (−9.5%, 95% CI −14.3% to -4.8% p<0.001) and depression (−22.3%, 95% CI −27.0% to −17.6% p<0.001).

Conclusions Almost half of people undergoing bariatric surgery had underlying anxiety or depressive symptoms. In the short term, these symptoms appear to substantially improve. Future work must identify whether these effects are sustained beyond the first post-randomisation year..
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere071231
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The By-Band-Sleeve study is funded by the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) HTA programme (ref: 09/127/53). The trial is being delivered in collaboration with Bristol Trials Centre, a UKCRC registered clinical trials unit which is in receipt of NIHR CTU support funding. This study was supported by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Bristol. Jane M Blazeby is partially funded by the Bristol NIHR Biomedical research centre.

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2024. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ.


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