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Keywords:

  • NAFLD ;
  • obesity;
  • personality;
  • psychiatric symptoms;
  • readiness to change

Abstract

Background & Aims

Weight management is a cornerstone of treatment for overweight/obese persons with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This exploratory study sought to: (i) evaluate readiness to change weight-related behaviours; (ii) assess psychosocial characteristics that may interfere with weight loss; and (iii) evaluate how baseline psychosocial features associate with 6-month change in weight in persons with NAFLD receiving standard medical care. The purpose of this investigation was to develop hypotheses regarding relationships between psychosocial factors and weight for use in future fully powered studies and clinical interventions

Methods

Fifty-eight overweight/obese participants with NAFLD completed baseline measures of personality, psychiatric symptoms and readiness for behaviour change and were followed up for 6 months in standard care.

Results

One-third of participants (31.0%) were not interested in making weight-related behaviour changes; 58.6% were considering making a change, and 10.4% of individuals were actively working on or preparing to change. Six-month change in weight was non-significant and was not associated with baseline readiness for change. Depression, low conscientiousness and high neuroticism were associated with higher weight at 6-month follow-up with small to large effect sizes.

Conclusions

Although participants received nutritional education and guidance, very few individuals presented in the active stage of change. Although readiness for change did not predict subsequent change in weight, personality factors and psychiatric symptoms were associated with weight outcomes. Integrated multidisciplinary approaches that address psychiatric needs and provide behavioural support for weight loss may help patients with NAFLD implement sustained lifestyle changes.