BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Bariatric surgery is a major event associated with psychological changes such as improvements in self-esteem, increased autonomy, and better self-value. Such changes could affect the patient's interpersonal relationships; however, little is known about the impact of bariatric surgery on changes in relationship status. In this paper, we aim to test the hypothesis that bariatric surgery is associated with changes in interpersonal relationships such as becoming single for those who were in a relationship or entering a relationship among those who were single before surgery.
METHODS: This register-based cohort study consisted of 12,493 patients undergoing bariatric surgery (95% gastric bypass) from 2005 to 2013 and a reference group of 15,101 individuals with obesity between the age of 18-63 with a body mass index between 32 and 60 kg/m2. Transitions between married, divorced, widowed, never-married single, and living with a partner without being married were analyzed by Poisson regression. Additionally, the outcome was dichotomized, and transitions between being single and being in a relationship were also analyzed. All analyses were weighted using inverse probability of treatment weighting based on propensity scores.
RESULTS: The overall incidence rate ratio (IRR) of changing status from being single to in a relationship was 2.03 (95% CI: 1.18-2.28), and the overall IRR of changing status from being in a relationship to single was 1.66 (95% CI: 1.50-1.83).
CONCLUSION: Bariatric surgery is associated with a higher chance of finding a partner among single individuals, and a higher risk of separating from a partner among individuals in a relationship.