Anthony completed his first degree in Sports Science at Liverpool John Moores University, before completing a PGCE at the University of Greenwich in 2004. A year later, he attained a master's degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology from Loughborough University. Anthony also conducted his doctoral studies at Loughborough University and graduated with a PhD in 2011. He held lecturing roles at the University of Hertfordshire and London Metropolitan University before returning to the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences in 2015 where he is now Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology.

Anthony’s research employs qualitative interpretive methodologies to understand the lives of marginalised groups and clinical populations. He is particularly interested in how athletes living with mental illness and poor mental health make sense of their experiences. Anthony’s narrative work argues that the stories people creatively tell about their lives hold consequences for experience, identity, and action. We are our stories, and we are guided by the plots they project.

Expertise: Mental illness, mental health, disordered eating, body image, qualitative research, narrative inquiry.

Selected grant funding

  • Body Image Experiences in Retired Olympians: Knowledge, Awareness, and Prevention (International Olympic Committee Olympic Studies Centre). 2020-2021. Principal Investigator. £15,035
  • Promoting Physical Activity in Thalidomide Survivors: A Participatory Action Research Approach (The Thalidomide Trust). 2020-2022. Principal Investigator. £60,677.
  • Health and Wellbeing in Professional Wrestling (British Academy). 2020-2022. Co-Investigator. £10,000.
  • 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 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 numerous scientific journals and has communicated his research across the globe.

Featured publications

  • Prior, E., Papathomas, A., & Rhind, D. (2022). A systematic scoping review of athlete mental health within competitive sport: interventions, recommendations, and policy. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 1-23.
  • Pereira-Vargas, M., Papathomas, A., Williams, T., Kinnafick, F., & Rhodes, P. (2021). Diverse paradigms and stories: mapping “mental illness” in athletes through meta-study. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 1-27.
  • Hall, L., Rhodes, P., & Papathomas, A. (2021). Embodied experiences of injured endurance runners: a qualitative meta-synthesis. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 14 (4), 628-647.
  • Anthony, J., Kinnafick, F., Papathomas, A., & Breen, K. (2020). Physical activity for adolescents with severe mental illness: A systematic scoping review. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 1-34.
  • Rogers, E., Papathomas, A., & Kinnafick, F. (2020). Inpatient perspectives on physical activity in a secure mental health setting. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 52, 1-9.
  • Gorczynski, P., Gibson, K., Thelwell, R., Papathomas, A., Harwood, C., & Kinnafick, F. (2019). The BASES expert statement on mental health literacy in elite sport. The Sport and Exercise Scientist, 59, 6-7.
  • Hunt, E., & Papathomas, A. (2019). Being physically active through chronic illness: life experiences of people with arthritis. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 12(2), 242-255
  • Rogers, E., Papathomas, A., & Kinnafick, F. (2019). Preparing for a physical activity intervention in a secure psychiatric hospital: reflexive insights on entering the field. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 13(2), 235-249.
  • 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, 16, 80-95.
  • 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.
  • 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. (2019). Psychology of disability sport: Participation and performance. In M. H. Anshel, T. A. Petrie, & J. A. Steinfeldt (Eds.), APA handbook of sport and exercise psychology, Vol. 1. Sport psychology (pp. 385–398). American Psychological Association.
  • Papathomas, A. (2018). Disordered eating in sport: Legitimized and stigmatized. In M. Atkinson (Ed.), Sport, Mental Illness, and Sociology (pp. 97-109). 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 (pp. 101-116). 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.