The impact of living with morbid obesity on psychological need frustration: A study with bariatric patients

Ángel Megías, David González-Cutre, Vicente J. Beltrán-Carrillo, José M. Gomis-Díaz, Eduardo Cervelló, Kimberley J. Bartholomew

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15 Citations (Scopus)
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Guided by self‐determination theory, the purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the previous experiences of living with morbid obesity of 10 postbariatric patients enrolled in a physical activity programme. Qualitative data were collected through interviews and diarized observations. A thematic analysis revealed that participants suffered from health and mobility troubles in their daily life and experienced stigmatization and discrimination in most areas of their social functioning. Participants described how these experiences resulted in the thwarting of their basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness. In turn, psychological need frustration contributed to negative consequences such as body image concerns, low self‐esteem, anxiety and depression; controlled regulation of their eating behaviour and extrinsic goals; rigid behaviours such as avoiding social situations; and compensatory and self‐defeating behaviours such as giving up diet and physical activity regimens and binge eating (i.e., oppositional defiance). This study highlights how living with morbid obesity can impair optimal functioning and well‐being via experiences of psychological need frustration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-522
JournalStress and Health
Issue number4
Early online date23 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • bariatric surgery
  • morbid obesity
  • need frustration
  • need thwarting
  • self‐determination theory
  • stigmatization

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