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Psychological Distress During COVID-19 Confinement in Persons After Bariatric Metabolic Surgery

Daniela Lilian González-Sánchez

Background: People with obesity often suffer from distress and psychopathological symptoms that diminish after undergoing bariatric metabolic surgery; however, the confinement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the general population in this sense. Considering that the bariatric population has a higher risk for the development of these disorders, it is important that they are identified in order to prevent or treat them opportunely thus avoiding health risks. Therefore, this study aims to determinate the relationship between the COVID-19 pandemic related distress and psychopathological symptoms in persons after bariatric metabolic surgery.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted including 102 participants with more than six months of undergoing bariatric metabolic surgery. Sociodemographic information was collected, as well as the COVID-19 related psychological distress and the psychopathological symptoms measured by the SCL-90R. A path analysis was used to evaluate the correlation between the variables.

Results: 90.2% of the participants were women, 84% had been under surgery with a Sleeve Gastrectomy technique while the rest underwent Roux-Y Gastric Bypass. The obtained model showed a significant correlation between the SCL 90-R subscales and the COVID-19 related psychological distress and both were negatively correlated to participants’ age. The model had adequate goodness-of-fit indicators (Chi-square goodness-of-fit (χ2): 78.007, df: 64, p: 0.112; Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA): 0.047; Goodness of Fit Index (GFI): 0.907; Comparative Fit Index (CFI): 0.991; Parsimony Normed Fit Index (PNFI): 0.670; Akaike Information Criterion (AIC): 160.007).

Conclusion: The psychological distress caused by the pandemic and confinement is evidenced by higher scores on the SCL-90R instrument. However, further studies and psychometric tests with more homogeneous samples with respect to sex and surgical technique are needed.

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