Obesity Surgery

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 252–261 | Cite as

Examination of the Effectiveness of a Brief, Adapted Dialectical Behavior Therapy-Skills Training Group for Bariatric Surgical Candidates

  • Chelsea A. Delparte
  • Hilary A. PowerEmail author
  • Bethany L. Gelinas
  • Amanda M. Oliver
  • Regan D. Hart
  • Kristi D. Wright
Original Contributions



Bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for morbid obesity, yet 20 to 30% of such patients regain weight approximately 2 years post-surgery. A psychological intervention adjunctive to bariatric surgery that addresses eating pathology often observed in bariatric populations may improve outcomes. In the present study, a brief, adapted DBT-ST group for bariatric surgical candidates was evaluated as an adjunctive intervention to bariatric surgery in the pre-surgical period to reduce eating pathology and clinical impairment.


Participants included 95 bariatric surgery candidates, with 50 candidates in the DBT-ST plus treatment as usual (TAU) group and 45 candidates in the TAU (i.e., comparison) group. Participants completed measures of eating pathology at three time points (i.e., T1 = pre-DBT-ST program; T2 = post-DBT-ST program; T3 = 4 months post-DBT-ST; comparable time points employed for TAU group). Average wait time for surgery following the pre-surgical program was approximately 2 to 4 months.


A series of 2 (group: DBT-ST + TAU versus TAU) × 3 (assessment time: T1, T2, and T3) mixed-model ANOVAs were completed. Participants in the DBT-ST plus TAU group showed significant reductions in binge eating, emotional eating, global eating pathology, and clinical impairment related to eating difficulties over time in comparison to TAU.


Findings demonstrated that a brief DBT-ST group integrated as an adjunctive intervention to TAU in a bariatric pre-surgical program could aid in addressing eating pathology. Bariatric participants in a DBT-ST plus TAU group may be on a better weight loss trajectory than those who only receive TAU.


Bariatric surgery Dialectical behavior therapy Bariatric pre-surgical program Eating pathology Clinical intervention 



Thank you to Dr. Regan Shercliffe and Dr. Ron Martin for their assistance, encouragement, and contributions to this project.


This research was funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research Doctoral Research Award and the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research at the University of Regina.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Statement

Ethical approval to conduct this study was obtained through the University of Regina and RQHR Research Ethics Boards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ReginaReginaCanada
  2. 2.Bariatric Surgical Assessment Clinic, Regina Qu’Appelle Health RegionReginaCanada

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