Institute of Sports Science

Prof. Dr. Ansgar Thiel

Institute of Sports Science
Wilhelmstraße 124,
1st floor, room 117
  07071 29-76411
Consultation Times (PDF)

Main research

  • Activity- and health-related biographies
  • Social determinants and biopsychosocial effects of physical activity
  • Body-related stigmatization and health
  • Social aspects of health in elite sports

Research projects 

Short vita

Since 2010
Director of the Institute of Sports Science

University of Tübingen

Since 2004
Professor for Sport Science

University of Tübingen

2000 - 2004
Professor for Sport Sociology, Institute of Sport Science

Technical University of Chemnitz

Habilitation award of the

Westfälisch-Lippischen university society


University of Bielefeld

Promotion award of the

Westfälisch-Lippischen university society

Doctoral degree

University of Bielefeld

Diploma in Psychogerontology

University of Erlangen-Nürnberg

Diploma in Sports Science

University of Tübingen

Selected publications

Journal articles

  • Bekker, S., Bolling, C., Ahmed, O. H., Badenhors, M., Carmichael, J., Fagher, K., Hägglund, M., Jacobsson, J., John, J.M., Litzy, K., Mann, R. H., McKay, C. D., Mumford, S., Tabben, M., Thiel, A., Timpka, T., Thurston, J., Truong L. K., Spörri, J., van Nassau, F. & Verhagen, E.A.L.M. (2020). Athlete health protection: why qualitative research matters. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport (JSAMS).
  • Frahsa, A., Abel, T., Gelius, P. & Rütten, A. on behalf of the Capital4Health research consortium (im Druck). The capability approach as a bridging framework across health promotion settings: theoretical and empirical considerations. Health Promotion International.
  • Frahsa, A., Streber, A., Wolff, A.R., & Rütten, A. (2020). Capabilities for physical activity by Turkish- and Russian-speaking immigrants 65+ in Germany. A qualitative study. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity. Doi:
  • Geidl, W., Sudeck, G., Wais, J. & Pfeifer, K. (2020). Bewegungsförderung in der Bewegungstherapie: aktuelle Ergebnisse des Forschungsprojektes „Bewegungstherapie in der medizinischen Rehabilitation“. Bewegungstherapie und Gesundheitssport, 36 (1), 43-44. doi: 10.1055/a-0976-4072.
  • Gropper, H., John, J. M., Sudeck, G., & Thiel, A. (2020). The impact of life events and transitions on physical activity: A scoping review. PLoS One, 15(6), e0234794. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0234794
  • Haible, S., Volk, C., Demetriou, Y., Höner, O., Thiel, A. & Sudeck, G. (2020). Physical activity-related health competence, physical activity, and physical fitness: Analysis of control competence for the self-directed exercise of adolescents. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 17, 39; doi:10.3390/ijerph17010039.
  • Mayer, J., Burgess, S. & Thiel, A. (2020). Return-to-play decision-making in German team sports athletes. An experimental study about athletes’ information needs and risk defusing based on a quasi-naturalistic scenario. Frontiers in Psychology.
  • Srismith, D., Wider, L.M., Wong, H.J., Zipfel, S., Thiel, A., Giel, K.E., & Mölbert, S.C. (2020). Influence of physical activity. Interventions on body representation: a systematic review. Frontiers in Psychiatry.
  • Thiel, A., Sudeck, G., Gropper, H., Mattioni Maturana, F., Schubert, T., Srismith, D., Widmann, M., Behrens, S., Martus, P., Munz, B., Giel, K., Zipfel, S., Nieß, A. M. & the iReAct Team. (2020). The iReAct study: A biopsychosocial analysis of the individual response to physical activity. Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications, 17. doi:
  • Thiel, A., John, J. M., Carl, J., & Thedinga, H. K. (2020). Weight Stigma Experiences and Physical (In)activity: A Biographical Analysis. Obesity Facts, 13(3), 386-402. doi:10.1159/000507936
  • Thiel, A., Gropper, H., John, J.M., Keppler, V. & Mayer, J. (2020). bioMAP - Development of a software for the retrospective analysis of biopsychosocial health trajectories in elite sport.
  • Sudeck, G. & Thiel, A. (2019). Sport, Wohlbefinden und psychische Gesundheit. [Sport, Well-being and Mental Health]. In Schüle, J., Wegner, M. & Plessner, H. (Eds.). Lehrbuch Sportpsychologie. Theoretische Grundlagen und Anwendung. Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer. (in press)
  • Granz, H., Schnell, A., Mayer, J., & Thiel, A. (2019). Risk profiles for athlete burnout in adolescent elite athletes: A classification analysis. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 41, 130-141. doi: 10.1016/j.psychsport.2018.11.005.
  • Schubring, A., Mayer, J., & Thiel, A. (2019). Drawing Careers: The Value of a Biographical Mapping Method in Qualitative Health Research. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 18, 1-12. doi: 10.1177/1609406918809303.
  • Carl, J., Thedinga, H. K., Zipfel, S. & Thiel, A. (2018). Stimulating Weight Stigma in Future Experimental Designs on Physical Activity - Development and Pilot Validation of a Video Instrument. Obesity Facts, 11, 206-220.
  • Thiel, A., Thedinga, H.K., Barkhoff, H., Giel, K.E., Schweizer, O., Thiel, S.B. & Zipfel, S. (2018). Why are some groups physically active and others not? A contrast group analysis in leisure settings. BMC Public Health,18:37.
  • Mayer, J., Giel, K. E., Malcolm, D., Schneider, S., Diehl, K., Zipfel, S. & Thiel, A. (2018). Compete or rest? Willingness to compete hurt among adolescent elite athletes. Psychology of Sport and Exercise 35, 143-150.
  • Diehl K, Mayer J, Thiel A, Zipfel S, Schneider S (2018) „Playing hurt“: der Umgang jugendlicher Leistungssportler mit Gelenkschmerzen. Der Schmerz, doi: 10.1007/s00482-017-0263-5.
  • Seiberth, K., Thiel, A., & Spaaij, R. (2017). Ethnic identity and the choice to play for a national team: a study of junior elite football players with a migrant background. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. doi: 10.1080/1369183X.2017.1408460.
  • Mayer, J. & Thiel, A. (2016). Presenteeism in the elite sports workplace: The willingness to compete hurt among German elite handball and track and field athletes. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 53(1), 49-68. doi: 10.1177/1012690216640525.
  • Thiel, A., Thedinga, H.K., Thomas, S.L., Barkhoff, H, Giel, K.E., Schweizer, O, Thiel, S. and Zipfel, S. (2016). Have adults lost their sense of play? An observational study of the social dynamics of physical (in)activity in German and Hawaiian leisure settings. BMC Public Health, 16, 689.
  • Giel, K.E., Hermann-Werner, A., Mayer, J, Diehl, K., Schneider, S, Thiel, A. & Zipfel, S. & Goal Study Group. (2016). Eating disorder pathology in elite adolescent athletes. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 49(6), 553–562.


  • Thiel, A., Mayer, J. & Seiberth, K. (2018). Sportsoziologie. Ein Lehrbuch in 13 Lektionen. (2. Auflage). Aachen: Meyer & Meyer.
  • Schrader, J., Schmid, J. Amos, K. & Thiel, A. (Eds.) (2017). Governance und Interdependenz von Bildung. Internationale Studien und Vergleiche. Nomos-Verlag.
  • Bette, K.-H., Kühnle, F. & Thiel, A. (2012). Dopingprävention. Eine soziologische Expertise. Bielefeld: transcript.
  • Thiel, A., Mayer, J. & Digel, H. (2010). Gesundheit im Spitzensport. Eine sozialwissenschaftliche Analyse. Schorndorf: Hofmann.
  • Digel, H., Thiel, A., Schreiner, R. & Waigel, S. (2010). Berufsfeld Trainer im olympischen Spitzensport. Schorndorf: Hofmann.
  • Thiel, A. (2003). Soziale Konflikte. Bielefeld: transcript.
  • Thiel, A. (2002). Konflikte in Sportspielmannschaften des Spitzensports. Entstehung und Management. Schorndorf: Hofmann.
  • Cachay, K. & Thiel, A. (2000). Soziologie des Sports. Weinheim und München: Juventa.


  • Thiel, A. & John, J. (2019). Is eSport a “real” sport? Reflections on the spread of virtual competitions. European Journal for Sport and Society.
  • Thiel, A. & Munz, B. (2018). Individualized training as a biopsychosocial challenge – interlinking epigenetics, social sciences and psychology in sport scientific research European Journal for Sport and Society. DOI: 10.1080/16138171.2018.1500116
  • Thiel, A. (2018). World University Subject Rankings - a threat for the sociology of sport? European Journal for Sport and Society, 15, 2, 114-117.
  • Munz, B., Thiel, A. (2018). Individualisiertes Training – ein biopsychosozialer Ansatz. [Individualized training – a biopsychosocial approach]. Dtsch Z Sportmed. 69: 191-194. doi:10.5960/dzsm.2018.332
  • Thiel, A., Renner, T. & Zipfel, S. (2018). Gemeinschaftlich verschlungen – Anorexia nervosa als hyperinklusives Phänomen. [Starving together - Anorexia nervosa as a hyperinclusive phenomenon]. PPmP - Psychotherapie · Psychosomatik · Medizinische Psychologie, 68, 6, 231-233. Internet:
  • Thiel, A., Seiberth, K. & Mayer, J. (2018) .Why does theory matter? Reflections on an apparently self-evident question in sport sociology. European Journal for Sport and Society, 15:1, 1-4, DOI: 10.1080/16138171.2018.1437689

Functions and memberships

  • 2014 to 2019 Editor in-chief of the European Journal for Sport and Society (Routledge)
  • 2014 to 2019 Member of the executive board of the European Association for the Sociology of Sport
  • 2017 to 2018 Speaker of the Department for Social Sciences at the University of Tübingen
  • 2008-2010 Dean of the Faculty for Social and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Tübingen
  • Speaker of the Scientific Forum of the Württembergischer Landessportbund [Wuerttemberg State Sport Organisation] (WLSB)
  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the GYMWELT German Gymnastics Federation (DTB)
  • Member of the Board of Trustees of the Württemberg Sport Foundation
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the Institute of Sport History Baden-Württemberg e.V. [Institut für Sportgeschichte e.V. Baden-Württemberg]
  • Faculty Member of LEAD Graduate School and Research Network (funded within the framework of the Excellence Initiative via the German Research Foundation)