Background

There is a U-shaped trend of weight plateau and regain among bariatric surgery patients. Social supports, particularly romantic partners, may be a resource to help mitigate this trend. Yet, how partners’ affect patient outcomes or how patients and partners would like to be engaged in the surgery process remain largely unknown. Thus, the purpose of this study is to test the feasibility and acceptability of romantic partner attendance at patient visits throughout the bariatric surgery process.

Methods

A sample of 50 female patient-partner dyads were enrolled and randomized into two arms (treatment as usual – TAU; partner attended – PA) of a randomized control trial. Patients and partners in both arms completed 4 assessments at a pre-surgery education class (T1), pre-surgery appointment (T2), 2-weeks post-surgery appointment (T3), and 2-months post-surgery appointment (T4). For feasibility, partner attendance at T2-T4 was assessed, and questions were asked to PA dyads about time, financial, and economic barriers to attendance. Open ended questions were conducted for acceptability at T4, and coded using content analysis.

Results

The sample was predominantly White and married. The majority of partners attended visits T2 (50%) T3 (80%) and T4 (80%) visits in the PA arm. Patients and partners reported that they did not find partner attendance to be a time (100%, 75%) or financial (100%, 75%) burden, respectively; and patients (96%) and partners (96%) reported that it was easy for them to have the partner attend the appointment. “Childcare” and “traffic” were the most frequent barriers and “Hearing the same healthcare information” was the most frequent benefit to partner attendance per open-ended responses.

Conclusions

The majority of patients and partners felt that having partners attend bariatric surgery visits was feasible and acceptable.