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Title: The association between social support and weight outcomes in the general population and in bariatric surgery patients
Author: Tymoszuk, Urszula
ISNI:       0000 0004 7227 4887
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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To date, little attention has been paid to supportive relationships as factors contributing to body weight in the general population and bariatric surgery outcome, as well as to theoretical frameworks conceptualising these associations. Studies presented here follow the wellestablished practice of examining functional and structural aspects of social support within the Stress Buffering and Main Effect frameworks. Although the associations between social support and body mass index (BMI) and waist-tohip ratio (WHR) have been found at different time points during adult life, it is currently unknown if person-level trajectories of BMI and WHR over midlife vary by social support. This question was addressed using data from a large occupational cohort, the Whitehall II study. Supportive relationships could also facilitate the adjustment to lifestyle changes required post-bariatric surgery and hence promote weight loss. To test this association, 189 patients were recruited to the study pre-surgery at University College London Hospital Bariatric Centre for Weight Management and Metabolic Surgery. Upon recruitment, patients completed a questionnaire on their social support. Body weight was measured once before and three times after the surgery. The key findings are: the emotional dimension of support in both populations (particularly emotional support provided to others in the clinical population), being married in men in the general population and greater contact with friends in the clinical population are related to maintaining healthy body weight over midlife as well as promoting weight loss from bariatric surgery. Health behaviours, common mental disorder, self-esteem and mastery did not explain these associations. If replicated in more representative samples and using repeated social support measures, these findings could inform intervention studies and clinical practice. Further research on emotional social support, particularly given to others and revised conceptual models linking various social support aspects to body weight are warranted.
Supervisor: Stafford, M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available