Date of Award

Spring 5-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Human Ecology

First Advisor

Vicky Green


Emotional eating and binge-eating behavior in obese individuals and post-surgical bariatric patients are both linked to decreased ability to identify and cope with stress (Mitchell et al., 2016; Urquhart & Mihalynuk, 2011). In turn, obese patients who exhibit greater rates of stress-eating behavior show reductions in levels of mindfulness (Ouwens et al., 2015). The purpose of the study was to investigate the association between mindful eating component scores and selected weight loss outcomes in post-surgical bariatric patients.

Patients from a private bariatric clinic in Shreveport, Louisiana who underwent gastric sleeve or gastric bypass were invited to participate based on specific inclusion/exclusion criteria. Patient eligibility included male and female patients, ages 20-65 years who underwent bariatric surgery (gastric sleeve or gastric bypass) between June 1, 2011 and June 1, 2018. Participants were asked to complete a mindful eating questionnaire (MEQ) component, a survey modified from a validated MEQ, administered via the online survey platform Survey Monkey™ to assess eating behavior. Weight, gender, bariatric surgery type and length of time since surgery were measured.

A total of N = 121 participants completed the MEQ component partially (108 completed the survey in entirety). The age range was 20 to 65 years. 81.5% of all participants were female, 78% were white, 54% reported having surgery in the past three to five years and 95.4% underwent gastric sleeve surgery.

Mean presurgical body mass index (BMI) was 46.72 and mean weight loss was 34.47% of presurgical weight. Bariatric surgery dates averaged 48.61 months prior to study commencement. 88 (92%) of females and 19 (95%) of males experienced postoperative weight regain with a lowest post-surgical mean BMI of 30.93 for both genders.

The significant difference in mean total MEQ component score between males and females was not found. Females had MEQ component scores (M = 2.53, SD = 0.37) that were not statistically different than males (M = 2.52, SD = 0.52). Females scored higher in the survey domains addressing external cues, emotional response and distraction. In the awareness domain, males scored higher (M = 3.00, SD = 0.44) than females (M = 2.66, SD = 0.67) and this difference was statistically significant. The significant difference in average total MEQ component score between bariatric surgery types was not achievable due to low volume of gastric bypass surgery respondents (4.6%). The MEQ component score was higher in patients’ status-post gastric bypass (M = 2.66, SD = 0.34) when compared to the MEQ component score of patients’ status-post gastric sleeve (M = 2.52, SD = 0.40). A statistically significant difference between genders was found in the awareness domain with men scoring higher. No statistically significant association was observed between MEQ component scores and percent weight loss. A significant association was observed between MEQ component scores and patients who experienced post-surgical weight regain with a one-unit increase in MEQ component scores associated with every 6.03% increase in weight (β = 6.03, t(88) = 2.78, p < 0.008).

This study found that mindful eating component scores were not related to weight loss, bariatric surgery type or length of time since surgery. Men scored significantly higher in one domain of the mindful eating, however no further significance between genders was identified. There was a significant association between mindful eating component scores and weight regain in this subgroup of patients.