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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 2001 March;42(1):7-18

language: Italian

The role of body weight and somatic morphology in affecting body image of obese patients

Lagatolla V., Testa S., Russo P., Campostano A., Adami G.


Background. To evaluate in obese patients the role of possessing an abnormal body weight in the body image alterations. A group of obese patients undergoing bariatric surgery has been studied prior to and three years after biliopancreatic diversion, when body weight and shape were steadily normalized.
Methods. Body image was assessed by the body dissatisfaction scale of the Eating Disorder Inventory, by the Body Shape Questionnaire and by the Body Attitude Questionnaire; furthermore, relationship to food and diet and the weight and shape related attitudes were investigated with an individual interview.
Results. The stable weight reduction resulted in a sharp improvement of body image: following the operation, body dissatisfaction feelings of fatness and physical attractiveness normalized, while body disparagement and salience of shape, thought improved in comparison to the preoperative data, remained still significantly different from that of controls. These findings are in full agreement with the data obtained by the individual interview.
Conclusions. In the obese patients some aspects of body alterations are substantially accounted for by the overweight; other aspects reflect inner feelings, that are partially independent of the actual body weight and shape.

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