Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Anson Long

Second Advisor

Maureen McHugh

Third Advisor

Anthony Perillo


The current study investigated bariatric surgery patients’ perceptions of their physical capabilities and appearance, along with their attitudes toward bariatric surgery. A cross-sectional sample of pre-operative (N=41) and post-operative (N=82) patients completed a 54-item survey. All respondents completed the Appearance and Capabilities Scale (Long & Eash, 2016), which measures the extent to which people focus on their appearance as a source of their self-views, and the extent to which people appreciate their body’s physical capabilities. They also completed measures of their current appraisal of their physical capabilities and their physical appearance. Pre-operative patients then rated their beliefs about how surgery would change their capabilities and appearance, and their desire to have bariatric surgery. Post-operative patients rated their beliefs about how the surgery had changed their capabilities and appearance, as well as their satisfaction with surgery. Results revealed that post-operative patients appraised their capabilities and appearance more favorably than pre-operative patients, they felt a greater appreciation for their physical capabilities, and they focused less on their physical appearance as a source of their self-views. Additionally, in pre-operative patients, expectations for how capabilities would be improved by surgery and expectations for how appearance would be improved by surgery were highly correlated and were both good predictors of desire for bariatric surgery. Post-operatively, perceptions of how capabilities have improved post-surgery was a strong predictor of satisfaction with surgery, but perceptions of how appearance has improved was not. Overall the aims of the study were accomplished, and the findings demonstrate the value of the capabilities construct in assessing the patient experience of bariatric surgery.