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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 374050, 7 pages
Research Article

Prevalence and Predictors of Self-Reported Sexual Abuse in Severely Obese Patients in a Population-Based Bariatric Program

1Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2B7
2Alberta Diabetes Institute, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2B7
3Department of Surgery and CAMIS (Center for the Advancement of Minimally Invasive Surgery), University of Alberta, Royal Alexandra Hospital, Edmonton, AB, Canada T5H 3V9
4Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2R3
5Department of Oncology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2G2
6Walter C. Mackenzie Health Sciences Centre, 8440-112th Street, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2B7

Received 7 April 2013; Accepted 10 June 2013

Academic Editor: Michel M. Murr

Copyright © 2013 Danielle L. Gabert et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Sexual abuse may be associated with poorer weight loss outcomes following bariatric treatment. Identifying predictors of abuse would enable focused screening and may increase weight management success. Methods. We analyzed data from 500 consecutively recruited obese subjects from a population-based, regional bariatric program. The prevalence of self-reported sexual abuse was ascertained using a single interview question. Health status was measured using a visual analogue scale (VAS). Multivariable logistic regression was performed to identify sexual abuse predictors. Results. The mean age was 43.7 y (SD 9.6), 441 (88.2%) were females, 458 (91.8%) were white, and the mean body mass index (BMI) was 47.9 kg/m2 (SD 8.1). The self-reported prevalence of past abuse was 21.8% (95% CI 18.4–25.4%). Abused subjects had worse health status (VAS score 53.1 (SD 21.2) versus 58.0 (SD 20.1), ). BMI was not associated with abuse (). Age, sex, BMI, and covariate-adjusted independent predictors of abuse included alcohol addiction (adjusted odds ratio 15.8; 95% CI 4.0–62.8), posttraumatic stress disorder (4.9; 2.5–9.5), borderline personality (3.8; 1.0–13.8), depression (2.4; 1.3–4.3), and lower household income (3.4; 1.6–7.0). Conclusions. Abuse was common amongst obese patients managed in a population-based bariatric program; alcohol addiction, psychiatric comorbidities, and low-income status were highly associated with sexual abuse.