The relationship between childhood maltreatment and problematic eating behaviors in bariatric surgery candidates



It is known that childhood maltreatment and problematic eating behaviors are higher in bariatric surgery patients compared to over- and normal-weight persons. The aim of the study is to investigate the relationship between childhood maltreatment and problematic eating behaviors such as restraint, eating concern, weight concern, shape concern, and emotional eating in bariatric surgery patients.

Materials and methods

112 consecutive obese individuals seeking bariatric surgery at a University Hospital were administered asset of scales, including Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire-Emotional Eating subscale (DEBQ-E), and Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire (EDE-Q) and sociodemographic form, cross-sectionally. After descriptive statistics, a regression analysis was conducted to understand the relationships of CTQ scores with EDE-Q total, and subscale scores and DEBQ-E.


In the Pearson correlation analysis, a statistically significant positive correlation was found between CTQ total score with EDE-Q total score and all subscales scores. In linear regression analyses, it was found that emotional abuse (β = 0.39, p = 0.02) and physical abuse (β = 0.36, p = 0.01) predicted increased DEBQ-E scores. In addition, sexual abuse was found to significantly predict weight concern (β = 0.26, p = 0.04) and shape concern (β = 0.31, p = 0.01).


Our findings showed that the dynamics of problematic eating behaviors may differ depending on the type of childhood trauma. Psychiatric evaluation of bariatric surgery patients is important in understanding the relationship between childhood maltreatment and problematic eating behaviors.

Level of evidence

Level V, cross-sectional descriptive study.

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Author information




Conceptualization: IA, GMS, and SB; methodology: IA, GMS, and SB; formal analysis and investigation: IA, GMS, and AK; writing—original draft preparation: GMS and AK; writing—review and editing: GMS and AK; resources: IA, SB, and AK; supervision: GMS.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ali Kandeger.

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Availability of data and material

The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.

Ethical approval

This study was performed in line with the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki. Approval was granted by the Non-Invasive Ethical Committee of Bezmialem Vakıf University, Faculty of Medicine (22.06.2017/11376).

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

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The article is part of the Topical Collection on Obesity Surgery and Eating and Weight Disorders.

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Akduman, I., Sevincer, G.M., Bozkurt, S. et al. The relationship between childhood maltreatment and problematic eating behaviors in bariatric surgery candidates. Eat Weight Disord (2020).

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  • Adverse life events
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Childhood maltreatment
  • Emotional eating
  • Obesity
  • Problematic eating behaviors