Anthony completed his first degree in Sports Science at Liverpool John Moores University, graduating with First Class Honours. He went on to complete a postgraduate certificate of education (PGCE) at the University of Greenwich in 2004 and a year later attained a master's degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology (with Distinction) from Loughborough University. Anthony also conducted his doctoral studies at Loughborough University, and graduated with a PhD in 2011. Having briefly left Loughborough to be Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology at London Metropolitan University, he has since returned to join the School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences where he is now Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology.

Anthony’s research employs qualitative methodologies as a means to understanding the life experiences of marginalised groups and clinical populations. For example, his published work has addressed topics such as eating disorders in sport, the role of exercise in mental illness, and physical activity promotion in people with a disability. As an advocate of implementation science, Anthony integrates a variety of knowledge translation strategies into all of his academic endeavours. His book, “The Very Alternative Guide to Spinal Cord Injury”, translates academic research into a commercial product of the self-help genre.

Selected grant funding

  • Exercise as Medicine in Secure Mental Health Settings (St Andrews Healthcare). 2018-2021. Co-investigator. £30,000.
  • Understanding the Transition into Elite Disability Sport (English Institute of Sport). 2017-2018. Principal Investigator. £3,623.
  • Life with a Spinal Cord Injury: Development of a picture book resource (Higher Education Innovation Fund, Enterprise award). 2013-2014. Principal Investigator. £15,000
  • Evaluation of the Wheelchair tennis Silver Fund programme (International Tennis Federation). 2012-2013. Co-Investigator. £5,774

Anthony is Mental Health and Wellbeing Lead for the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES). Anthony has also provided sport and exercise psychology consultancy to a range of organisations, including the British Parachute Association, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, Triathlon Foundation, and The Thomas Pocklington Trust. He sits on the editorial board for Psychology of Sport and Exercise and Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health.

Featured publications

  • Rogers, E., Kinnafick, F. E., & Papathomas, A. (2018). Physical activity in secure settings: A scoping review of methods, theory and practise. Mental Health and Physical Activity.
  • Kinnafick, F. E., Papathomas, A., & Regoczi, D. (2018). Promoting exercise behaviour in a secure mental health setting: Healthcare assistant perspectives. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing. 1-8.
  • Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani, Papathomas , A, Foster, A., Quested, E., Ntoumanis, N. (2018). ‘Shall we dance’? Older adults’ perspectives on the feasibility of a dance intervention for cognitive function. Journal of Physical Activity and Aging, 1-25.
  • Papathomas, A., Petrie, T., & Plateau, C. (2018). Changes in body image perceptions upon leaving elite sport: The retired female athlete paradox. Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology, 7, 30-45.
  • Williams, T., Hunt, E., Papathomas, A., & Smith, B. (2018). Exercise is medicine? Most of the time for most; but not always for all. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 10, 441-456.
  • Richardson, E. V., Smith, B., & Papathomas, A. (2017). Crossing boundaries: The perceived impact of fitness instructors with a disability in the gym. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 29, 84-92.
  • Williams, T.L., Smith, B., & Papathomas, A. (2017). Physical activity promotion for people with spinal cord injury: Physiotherapists’ beliefs and actions. Disability and Rehabilitation, 40, 52-61.
  • Richardson, E. V., Smith. B., & Papathomas, A. (2017). Collective stories and exercise: Investigating the impact of exercising with disabled peers in the gym. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, 34(3), 276-294.
  • Plateau, C. R., Petrie, T. A., & Papathomas, A. (2017). Exercise attitudes and behaviours among retired female collegiate athletes. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 29, 111-115.
  • Plateau, C. R., Petrie, T. A., & Papathomas, A. (2016). Learning to eat again: Intuitive eating practices among retired female collegiate athletes. Eating Disorders, 1-7.
  • Richardson, E. V., Papathomas, A., Smith, B., & Goosey-Tolfrey, V. L. (2017). The psychosocial impact of wheelchair tennis on participants from developing countries. Disability and Rehabilitation, 39(2), 193-200.
  • Richardson, E. V., Smith, B., & Papathomas, A. (2016). Disability and the gym: Experiences, barriers and facilitators of gym use for individuals with physical disabilities. Disability and Rehabilitation, 1-8.
  • Papathomas, A., Williams, T. L., & Smith, B. (2015). Understanding physical activity participation in spinal cord injured populations: Three narrative types for consideration. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, 10.
  • Papathomas, A., Smith, B., & Lavallee, D. (2015). Family experiences of living with an eating disorder: A narrative analysis. Journal of Health Psychology, 20(3), 313-325.
  • Papathomas, A., & Petrie, T. (2014). Towards a more sophisticated eating disorders in sport research base. Psychology of Sport and Exercise. 15, 675-679.
  • Papathomas, A., & Lavallee, D. (2014). Self-starvation and the performance narrative in competitive sport. Psychology of Sport and Exercise. 15, 688-695.
  • Williams, T., Smith, B., & Papathomas, A. (2014). The barriers, benefits and facilitators of leisure time physical activity among people with spinal cord injury: A meta-synthesis of qualitative findings. Health Psychology Review, 8, 404-425.
  • Papathomas, A., & Lavallee, D. (2012). Eating disorders in sport: A call for methodological diversity. Revista de Psicologia del Deporte, 21, 387-392.
  • Papathomas, A., & Lavallee, D. (2012). Narrative constructions of anorexia and abuse: An athlete’s search for meaning in trauma. Journal of Loss and Trauma: International Perspectives in Stress and Coping. 17, 293-318.
  • Papathomas, A., & Lavallee, D. (2010). Athlete experiences of disordered eating in sport. Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise, 2, 354-370.
  • Papathomas, A., & Lavallee, D. (2006). A life history analysis of a male athlete with an eating disorder. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 11, 143-179.

Selected Book Chapters

  • Papathomas, A. & Smith, B. (in press). Psychology of disability sport: Participation and performance. In T. Petrie & M. H. Anshel (Eds.), American Psychological Association Handbook of Sport Psychology. American Psychological Association.
  • Papathomas, A. (2018). Disordered eating in sport: Legitimized and stigmatized. In M. Atkinson (Ed.), Sport, Mental Illness, and Sociology. Emerald Press.
  • Papathomas, A., White, H., & Plateau, C. (2018). Young people, social media and disordered eating. In V. Goodyear & K. Armour (Eds.), Young People, Social Media and Health. London: Routledge.
  • Smith, B., & Papathomas, A. (2017). Understanding disability, physical activity and sport through innovative methods: Mobile interviewing, autoethnography and creative non-fiction. In J. Brooks & N. King (Eds.), Applied Qualitative Research in Psychology (pp. 175-187). London: Palgrave.
  • Papathomas, A. (2016). Narrative inquiry: From cardinal to marginal…and back? In B. Smith & A. Sparkes (Eds.), Handbook of Qualitative Methods in Sport and Exercise (pp. 37-48). London: Routledge.

Recent conference communications

  • Papathomas, A., & Paulson, T. (December, 2018). Understanding the transition into elite disability sport. Oral communication delivered at the 6th Rehab Move Conference: Groningen, Netherlands.
  • Hunt, E., & Papathomas, A. (September, 2018). The power of stories to promote physical activity: Evaluating the quality and utility of a video narrative tool. Oral communication delivered at the Eighth International Conference on Health, Wellness & Society, London, UK.
  • Hunt, E., & Papathomas, A., (July, 2017) How do illness stories shape physical activity experiences? Insights into arthritis as redemption and contamination. Poster presented at 14th World Congress of ISSP, Seville, Spain.
  • Papathomas, A., Hunt, E., Williams. T., & Smith, B. (July, 2017). Exercise is medicine: Extending the metaphor to include biomedical ethics. Oral communication at 14th World Congress of Sport and Exercise Psychology, Seville, Spain.