Contextual influences on Italian university students during the COVID-19 lockdown: Emotional responses, coping strategies and resilience


Based on an ecological perspective on the COVID-19 lockdown experience, this study describes psychological responses among Italian university students. Our study considers three zones of the country that have differed in the intensity of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, this research explores whether differences in pandemic conditions can account for their divergent psychological outcomes. The participants were 792 university students from seven different Italian universities. Students were asked to express their emotions and describe meaningful events during the lockdown in writing. Based on the grounded theory approach, this study conducted qualitative data analysis using ATLAS.ti 8.0. The core emerged categories are emotions, emotional moods and state of mind, coping strategies, and resilience. The results describing these emergent factors in relation to environmental variables highlight differences in the feeling of anxiety among individuals: anxiety was more self-focused in zones that were more affected by the lockdown, while such anxiety was more related to family and friends in less-affected zones. In addition to identifying the negative repercussions that this emergency has had, this study describes some positive outcomes, such as the elaboration of new personal perspectives that help foster individual growth and allow individuals to gain new awareness of themselves and others. The confinement due to the COVID-19 emergency measures has been a very unique experience for people, and further research is needed to understand the long-term effects of the different coping responses activated by participants during and after the lockdown.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i24212113v7i1p71

Keywords: Emotional responses, COVID-19, Coping strategies, Resilience, Ecological perspective, Italy


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