To optimize candidate selection for bariatric surgery, predictors of successful weight loss require better understanding. The purpose of this study was to examine whether psychiatric symptoms, cognitive functioning, and maladaptive eating were related to successful weight loss outcomes up to 4 years following bariatric surgery.


Patients who underwent bariatric surgery during a 4-year period at a single institution were invited to complete a brief online survey, which included their current weight. Information was extracted from their preoperative psychosocial evaluation. Successful weight loss was defined as >50% excess weight loss.


Participants (N= 527) were primarily women (83.3%), White (62.3%), and had a mean age of 45.5 years (SD= 10.4). The majority of participants had successful weight loss (76.7%, n= 404). Those with successful weight loss were more likely to have higher health numeracy scores (p = .02), were more likely to have significant levels of anxiety (24.9% vs. 12.3%, p= .04), and also reported greater levels of eating in response to anxiety (p= .04). Depression, global cognitive functioning, health literacy, and binge eating were not significantly related to having a successful weight loss outcome (p> .05).


Higher preoperative levels of health numeracy, anxiety, and eating in response to anxiety were associated with successful weight loss outcomes. Health numeracy abilities may allow for greater understanding of the impact of dietary choices, leading to successful weight loss. Those with anxiety might be more vigilant about following treatment recommendations. Future research could examine mechanisms of these relationships.