The photo diaries method to catch the daily experience of Italian university students during COVID-19 lockdown


The aim of this research was to explore Italian students’ lockdown experience during the COVID-19 pandemic to understand their emotions and the coping strategies they played out during their daily lives at home through photo diaries. The research was carried out in six Italian universities involving 109 participants. The task required each student to take one photo per day for one week in T1 and one in T2, representing their mood during their daily life at home and to give it a title and a brief description. Overall, 1,526 photographs with texts were collected. The main subjects of the photographs were objects, the most frequent coping strategy was self-distraction, and most participants expressed emotions of joy and anticipation but also sadness and fear. Then, the associations between the characteristics of their photos and the emotions and coping strategies from their diary entries were analyzed. For example, emotional support and joy were positively associated with family, pets, and food, while fear and sadness were represented with objects. Implications of the results are discussed, including considerations about using photo diaries during collective disasters.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i24212113v8i2p59

Keywords: COVID-19; photo diaries; emotions; coping; university students


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