During the CoViD-19 pandemic, University students may have suffered from increased anxiety due to interferences in their relationships and in academic requirements, as didactic activities have moved to distance learning systems. However, being surrounded by supportive relationships and being motivated to cultivate personal interests might have decreased anxiety. In this pilot study, we collected the responses of 174 students from Italian University merit colleges to an online questionnaire, investigating their perceived anxiety, the quality of surrounding relationships, whether they were cultivating any personal interests and whether they had spent the period of lockdown in college or at home. Regression analyses indicated that both quality of relationships and personal interests predicted low levels of anxiety (p < 0.001). However, simple slope analyses showed that personal interests were negatively related to anxiety only at medium and high quality of relationships (p < 0.001), while no association was found at low quality of relationships. No differences were found between students who stayed in college or at home. These results suggest that Universities should promote accessibility to relationships and cultivation of personal interests to protect students’ mental health during mass emergencies such as the current pandemic, in the perspective of improving community resilience.
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