Dr Angela Meadows

Department of Psychology
Dr Angela Meadows



Dr Angela Meadows is a social psychologist specializing in prejudice and discrimination relating to weight and body size—in particular, how fat* people respond to the stigma they encounter in their daily lives. A core area of Dr Meadows' research focuses on who, when, how, and why fat people resist societal weight stigma, and the implications both for individuals and for social change. A secondary line of research focuses on the relationship between weight stigma and physical activity behaviour. Other areas of interest include: internalised weight stigma, measurement of weight stigma, weight stigma in policy and law, weight stigma in medical education, weight stigma and health at both the individual and population level, and ethical issues in weight stigma research. Dr Meadows came to psychology quite late in life. Her background is in biomedical sciences and her early interest in weight stigma came through an individualized health perspective. She started her PhD as a mature student, interested in how internalised weight stigma (when fat people devalue ourselves because of our weight) affects health behaviours and health outcomes. However, over the course of her doctoral degree, she became increasingly interested in the sociocultural determinants of health, and the study of weight stigma from the perspective of structural inequality, with a particular focus on drivers of social change. After obtaining a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Birmingham in 2018, Dr Meadows was awarded an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, allowing her to spend a year in the Social, Environmental, and Organisational Research Group at the University of Exeter to gain a deeper understanding of social identity processes in stigma and intergroup relations. She was then awarded a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), to spend two years at Western University in Canada in the Stigma, Objectification, Bodies and Resistance (SOBR) lab. She joined the University of Essex as a Lecturer in Psychology in 2021. Dr Meadows is the founder of the Annual International Weight Stigma Conference, an interdisciplinary event that brings together scholars and practitioners from a range of backgrounds (e.g., public health, government and public policy, psychology, medicine, sociology, anthropology, allied health professions, education, sports and exercise science, social sciences, media studies, business, law, activism, and the lay public) to consider research, policy, rhetoric, and practice around the issue of weight stigma. She consults with journalists, television companies, and non-governmental organisations on issues surrounding weight, health, and policy and also enjoys writing and talking about stigma and weight science with the public. Her work has appeared on Huffington Post UK, The Conversation, and in the Daily Mail and The Independent. Dr Meadows has appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live, Newstalk Radio, Dublin, and Talk Radio Europe among other, and has been interviewed for several international podcasts. * The word “Fat” is used as a value-neutral descriptor, in line with the preferences of organisations that advocate for fat rights. This usage “reclaims” the word and strips it of the negative meaning it has acquired. For more on this, see Meadows & Daníelsdóttir, 2016. Meadows, A., & Daníelsdóttir, S. (2016). What’s in a word: On weight stigma and terminology. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1527.


  • PhD University of Birmingham,


University of Essex

  • Lecturer, Psychology, University of Essex (1/10/2021 - present)

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Weight stigma

I am interested in all aspects of stigma and discrimination around weight and body size. This includes sources of stigma (e.g., family, friends, colleagues, strangers, structural), where stigma is experienced in everyday life (e.g., healthcare, education, employment, the media, legal system, etc.) and how people respond to stigma, including cognitive, affective, behavioural, and biological/physiological responses.

Key words: weight stigma

Physical activity behaviour

I am interested in how weight stigma influences physical activity (PA) behaviour in higher-weight individuals. This includes negative experiences in PA settings, self-stigmatising attitudes (shame, embarrassment etc.), and societal factors such as negative representations of fat exercisers and the shortage of positive fat role models. My work looks at how the confluence of all this negative messaging affects motivation, enjoyment, self-efficacy, and active identity development.

Key words: Physical activity

Stigma resistance

Rejecting and challenging societal weight stigma; mechanisms, evolution of resistance, costs and benefits of challenging, impact on self and others

Key words: Prejudice

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Statistics for Psychologists, 2nd Year (PS212)

  • Special Topics in Psychology (PS933)


Journal articles (24)

Meadows, A., Barreto, M., Dovidio, JF., Burke, SE., Wittlin, NM., Herrin, J., van Ryn, M. and Phelan, SM., (2023). Signalling hostility: The relationship between witnessing weight-based discrimination in medical school and medical student wellbeing. Journal of Applied Social Psychology. 53 (3), 215-230

Osa, ML., Siegel, J., Meadows, A., Elbe, C. and Calogero, RM., (2022). Stigmatizing effects of weight status on lay perceptions of eating disorder-related distress. Eating Disorders. 30 (1), 99-109

Shaw, SC. and Meadows, A., (2022). First do no harm: reconsidering our approach to weight in primary care.. British Journal of General Practice. 72 (716), 102-103

Meadows, A. and Higgs, S., (2022). Challenging oppression: A social identity model of stigma resistance in higher-weight individuals. Body Image. 42, 237-245

Meadows, A., Daníelsdóttir, S., Goldberg, D. and Mercedes, M., (2021). Fighting for a (wide enough) seat at the table: weight stigma in law and policy. Fat Studies. 10 (2), 101-124

Ashdown-Franks, G., Meadows, A. and Pila, E., (2021). “Negative Things That Kids Should Never Have to Hear”: Exploring Women’s Histories of Weight Stigma in Physical Activity. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology. 44 (1), 1-13

Potter, L., Meadows, A. and Smyth, J., (2021). Experiences of weight stigma in everyday life: An ecological momentary assessment study. Journal of Health Psychology. 26 (14), 2781-2793

Alleva, JM., Karos, K., Meadows, A., Waldén, MI., Stutterheim, SE., Lissandrello, F. and Atkinson, MJ., (2021). "What can her body do?" Reducing weight stigma by appreciating another person's body functionality.. PLoS One. 16 (5), e0251507-e0251507

Mclaughlin, M., Atkin, AJ., Starr, L., Hall, A., Wolfenden, L., Sutherland, R., Wiggers, J., Ramirez, A., Hallal, P., Pratt, M., Lynch, BM., Wijndaele, K., Adli, S., Gardiner, PA., Doyle, CB., Meadows, A., Mabry, RM., Pregonero, AF., Sadarangani, KP., Hadgraft, NT., Boyle, T., Farias, NA., Mair, JL., Hafoka, SF., Mielke, GI., Lin, SKP., McLeod, VR., Ranasinghe, C., Storning, PC., Dohrn, I-M., Müller-Riemenschnieder, F., Al Subhi, L., Yee, ACH., Gad, M., Marques, A. and Kontostoli, E., (2020). Worldwide surveillance of self-reported sitting time: a scoping review. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 17 (1), 111-

Meadows, A. and Higgs, S., (2020). Internalized weight stigma and the progression of food addiction over time. Body Image. 34, 67-71

Meadows, A. and Higgs, S., (2020). A bifactor analysis of the Weight Bias Internalization Scale: What are we really measuring?. Body Image. 33, 137-151

Meadows, A., (2019). Weight stigma and physical health: an unconsidered ‘obesity’ cost. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 110 (4), 525-526

Meadows, A. and Higgs, S., (2019). Internalised Weight Stigma Moderates the Impact of a Stigmatising Prime on Eating in the Absence of Hunger in Higher- but Not Lower-Weight Individuals. Frontiers in Psychology. 10 (MAY), 1022-

Meadows, A. and Higgs, S., (2019). The Multifaceted Nature of Weight-Related Self-Stigma: Validation of the Two-Factor Weight Bias Internalization Scale (WBIS-2F). Frontiers in Psychology. 10 (MAR), 808-

Meadows, A. and Bombak, AE., (2019). Yes, We Can (No, You Can’t): Weight Stigma, Exercise Self-Efficacy, and Active Fat Identity Development. Fat Studies. 8 (2), 135-153

Calogero, RM., Tylka, TL., Mensinger, JL., Meadows, A. and Daníelsdóttir, S., (2019). Recognizing the Fundamental Right to be Fat: A Weight-Inclusive Approach to Size Acceptance and Healing From Sizeism. Women & Therapy. 42 (1-2), 22-44

Bombak, AE., Meadows, A. and Billette, J., (2019). Fat acceptance 101: Midwestern American women’s perspective on cultural body acceptance. Health Sociology Review. 28 (2), 194-208

Meadows, A., Higgs, S., Burke, SE., Dovidio, JF., van Ryn, M. and Phelan, SM., (2017). Social Dominance Orientation, Dispositional Empathy, and Need for Cognitive Closure Moderate the Impact of Empathy-Skills Training, but Not Patient Contact, on Medical Students' Negative Attitudes toward Higher-Weight Patients. Frontiers in Psychology. 8 (MAR), 504-

Meadows, A., Daníelsdóttir, S., Calogero, R. and O'Reilly, C., (2017). Why fat suits do not advance the scientific study of weight stigma. Obesity. 25 (2), 275-275

Meadows, A., Nolan, LJ. and Higgs, S., (2017). Self-perceived food addiction: Prevalence, predictors, and prognosis. Appetite. 114, 282-298

Mensinger, JL. and Meadows, A., (2017). Internalized weight stigma mediates and moderates physical activity outcomes during a healthy living program for women with high body mass index. Psychology of Sport and Exercise. 30, 64-72

Meadows, A. and Daníelsdóttir, S., (2016). What's in a Word? On Weight Stigma and Terminology. Frontiers in Psychology. 7 (OCT), 1527-

Dretzke, J., Meadows, A., Novielli, N., Huissoon, A., Fry-Smith, A. and Meads, C., (2013). Subcutaneous and sublingual immunotherapy for seasonal allergic rhinitis: A systematic review and indirect comparison. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 131 (5), 1361-1366

Meadows, A., Kaambwa, B., Novielli, N., Huissoon, A., Fry-Smith, A., Meads, C., Barton, P. and Dretzke, J., (2013). A systematic review and economic evaluation of subcutaneous and sublingual allergen immunotherapy in adults and children with seasonal allergic rhinitis. Health Technol Assess. 17 (27), vi-322

Book chapters (3)

Meadows, A., Fat and fit: Possible, probable, protective?. In: The politics of size: Perspectives from the Fat-Acceptance Movement. Editors: Chastain, R., . Praeger/ABC-Clio. 1- 14. 1440829500. 9781440829505

Stoll, LC., Meadows, A., von Liebenstein, S. and Carlsen, CE., (2022). Fatphobia. In: Global Agenda for Social Justice 2. Editors: Muschert, GW., Budd, KM., Dillaway, H., Lane, DC., Nair, M. and Smith, JA., . Policy Press. 37- 44. 9781447367406

Meadows, A. and Calogero, R., (2018). Studies on weight stigma and body image in higher-weight individuals. In: Body Image, Eating, and Weight: A Guide to Assessment, Treatment, and Prevention. Editors: Cuzzolaro, M. and Fassino, S., . Springer. 381- 400. 978-3-319-90817-5

Conferences (3)

Ashdown-Franks, G., Meadows, A. and Pila, E., (2021). "Negative Things That Kids Should Never Have to Hear": Exploring Women's Histories of Weight Stigma in Physical Activity

Meadows, A., Cooper Stoll, L. and Brochu, P., (2019). Developing weight stigma resistance: Fat studies and emerging fat activism identity in a weight-diverse sample

Meadows, A. and Bombak, A., (2018). Yes, we can (No, you can't): Weight stigma, exercise self-efficacy, and active identity development in higher-weight individuals

Grants and funding


Understanding the sociocultural barriers to mental healthcare among Muslim women in Colchester

University of Essex (ESRC IAA)

A Typology of Completed Suicides in Essex using Coroner Data

University of Essex (ESRC IAA)

A Typology of Completed Suicides in Essex using Coroner Data

Essex County Council

+44 (0) 1206 873432


1.702, Colchester Campus