OVERVIEW AND TARGET AUDIENCE: This course is focused on how understanding of bariatric surgery’s effects on behavioral and psychosocial patterns is evolving in response to recent and ongoing research that capitalizes on advances in learning and methodology research methodology that allow these issues to be studied in more sophisticated and targeted ways. In its first half, the course will highlight critical questions about psychosocial and behavioral mechanisms of behavior change after bariatric surgery including which behaviors are most important for weight loss outcomes, the role of cognitive functioning in adherence to behavioral recommendations, and how understanding surgery-related changes in biology is important for enhancing behavior change to improve outcomes. In its second half, the course will highlight designs, methodology, and preliminary findings of selected NIH-funded projects focused on psychosocial and behavioral aspects of bariatric surgery. The course will include an emphasis on advances in research methodology and the specific findings that they are yielding, and the practical implications of these findings, including strategies for identifying and treating common behavioral and psychosocial problems occurring after bariatric surgery. The course therefore targets the broad audience of healthcare providers with an interest and investment in behavioral health following bariatric surgery, and the scientific community.


  • Describe how understanding of bariatric surgery’s effect on behavioral and psychosocial patterns (both positive and negative) is evolving in response to recent and ongoing research.
  • Identify behaviors recently found to be related to long-term weight loss after bariatric surgery in the LABS study.
  • Understand the relationship between cognitive functioning and adherence to behavioral recommendations after bariatric surgery.
  • Describe the conceptualization, course, and outcome of loss of control eating in adolescents seeking bariatric surgery.
  • Provide examples of ongoing novel methodologies used to study behavioral and psychosocial aspects of bariatric surgery and preliminary findings that these methodologies are yielding.

8:00am Course Introduction
Dale Bond, PhD
Part 1: Critical Questions About Psychosocial and Behavioral Mechanisms of Behavior Change After Bariatric Surgery
8:10am Which behaviors contribute to long-term weight loss? Lessons learned from LABS
James Mitchell, MD
8:35am Why isn’t adherence to behavioral recommendations better? The case for cognitive functioning
John Gunstad, PhD
9:00am Does loss of control eating impact adolescent weight loss after bariatric surgery? Findings from Teen-LABS
Andrea B Goldschmidt, PhD
9:25am Can behavior trump biology? Forming habits to counter biological pressure for weight regain
Laurel Mayer, MD
9:55am Panel Question & Answer
10:10am Break
Part 2: Examples of Ongoing NIH-funded Research on Behavioral and Psychosocial Aspects of Bariatric Surgery
10:30am An Examination of the Intersection Between Behavior and Biology After Bariatric Surgery
Kristine J Steffen, PharmD PhD
10:55am Predictors of Depression and Weight Regain After Bariatric Surgery
Scott Engel, PhD
11:20am Mobile Technology for Richer Assessment of Behavioral and Psychosocial Aspects of Bariatric Surgery: Preoperative Findings
J Graham Thomas, PhD
11:45am Panel Question & Answer
12:00pm Adjourn