The Meaning of Bariatric Surgery Among Male Patients: Self-Concept and the Search for Masculinity

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Darren D. Moore, PhD, LMFT (Georgia)
April Few-Demo, PhD

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Abstract

Using symbolic interaction theory, this phenomenological study was designed to explore how male patients made sense of their self-concept and masculinity during the bariatric surgery process, including their experience prior to surgical intervention and post-surgery. Twenty men who had undergone bariatric surgery in the previous 5 years in the United States were interviewed. Three major themes emerged in the study: (1) men’s search to embody a stereotypical notion of masculinity; (2) men’s reflexive process about their own masculinity as their bodies changed; and (3) men’s efforts to sustain their renewed sense of manhood after bariatric surgery. Implications for research and clinical practice are provided.

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