Pre-surgical, surgical and post-surgical experiences of weight loss surgery patients: a closer look at social determinants of health

LaShaune P. Johnson, F. M. Asigbee, R. Crowell, A. Negrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Using a novel qualitative approach, Photovoice, researchers assessed social, psychological, physical and economic barriers encountered by patients of weight loss surgery. Applying the Photovoice approach and Williams' theory of narrative reconstruction for qualitative interviewing, the research team set out to investigate the bariatric patient experience from pre-surgery to hospitalization to post-surgery. Fifteen participants were given digital cameras and asked to take photographs that represented their weight loss journeys. Photographs and qualitative interviews were used to theorize the role played by comorbidities, social determinants of health, provider communication experiences and understanding of insurance coverage in patient outcomes. Several themes emerged from the interviews and photographs including themes centred around: (i) racial/ethnic standards of beauty; (ii) gender expectations; (iii) comorbidities, depression/disordered eating and obesity discrimination and (iv) financial hardship impacting adherence. Photographs also illuminated the impact of hospital and state-wide policies on patient lives. Results suggest that Photovoice may be a useful adjunct to standard-of-care to help patients identify barriers, and to identify shortcomings in health services. Additional screening tools for gender- and income-related barriers (and concomitant referrals to support services) provide an opportunity to improve patient care and reduce post-operative readmissions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-274
Number of pages10
JournalClinical obesity
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2018


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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