A mixed-methods examination of alcohol use among young adult racially/ethnically diverse bariatric surgery patients

Christine E Spadola, Florida International University

Abstract

Bariatric, or weight loss, surgery (WLS) is known as the most effective treatment for severe obesity, and the number of bariatric surgeries performed in the United States has more than tripled over the past two decades. Despite the potential health benefits of WLS (i.e., reversal of type 2 diabetes), research has revealed problematic alcohol use among WLS patients, in part associated with the following risk factors: the prevalence of a lifetime alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) procedure, younger age, and an increased post-surgical sensitivity to alcohol. There is reason to believe both (a) young adult and (b) racial/ethnic minority bariatric surgery patients could be particularly prone to problematic drinking post-surgery, as both demographic groups represent an elevated risk of problematic alcohol use in the general population. Despite this, to date, there has been no in-depth assessment of alcohol use among young adult WLS patients. This dissertation utilized a sequential exploratory mixed methods design to examine alcohol use among young adult, racially/ethnically diverse WLS patients. Descriptive and inferential analyses examined alcohol use patterns and predictors of problematic alcohol use for 69 young adults who had WLS. Nearly one quarter of the sample (24.6%, n=17) reported an increase in alcohol use after WLS. Age, time since surgery, the RYGB procedure, and having a pre-operative alcohol use disorder (AUD) when entered into the model together, were not a predictive model of frequency of alcohol use or problematic alcohol use after WLS (F [4, 64] = 2.3, p=.067). However, the diagnosis of a pre-operative AUD was associated with an increased frequency of alcohol use post WLS, holding all other predictors constant (p <.05). Following a purposive sampling approach, the subset that reported an increase in alcohol use was recruited for an in-depth, qualitative interview (n=12). Four major themes emerged concerning an increase in alcohol use after WLS: (1) alcohol as a substitute for food, (2) alcohol use sensitivity, (3) socialization, and (4) alcohol as a coping mechanism. By understanding factors and drinking motivations associated with alcohol use post-WLS, targeted pre and post-surgical counseling interventions can be developed to better educate and address problematic alcohol use among WLS patients.^

Subject Area

Behavioral sciences|Counseling Psychology

Recommended Citation

Spadola, Christine E, "A mixed-methods examination of alcohol use among young adult racially/ethnically diverse bariatric surgery patients" (2015). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI10166005.
http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI10166005

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