Relationship between social support, coping strategy against COVID‑19, and anxiety among home‑quarantined Chinese university students

With the continued spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the strict implementation of quarantine policy, the levels of anxiety among university students surged in the lockdown period. Previous studies confrmed the efectiveness of social support
in mitigating anxiety, so ofering social support should be of high priority in COVID-19, especially in quarantine. However,
various coping strategies against the pandemic may explain the link between social support and anxiety. The purpose of this
study was to investigate the associations of social support, coping strategy against COVID-19, and anxiety, identifying the
potential mediating efect of coping strategy between social support and anxiety during the COVID-19 quarantine. Homequarantined Chinese university students (N=2640; 68.79% female) completed online ratings of social support, coping, and
anxiety from February 21st to 24th, 2020, when they had been confned to their homes in the peak of the pandemic. Sex
and academic attainment being covariates, path analysis with parallel mediation were conducted using “lavaan” package in
R environment. Anxiety was signifcantly negatively related to subjective support and counselor support, while family support did not demonstrate substantive associations with anxiety. The mediating role of cognitive coping was found between
all the three social support sources and anxiety. Emotional coping and behavioral coping were found to partially mediate
the relationship between subjective support and anxiety, fully mediate the associations of family support and anxiety. However, the impact of counselor support on anxiety was not found to be mediated by emotional coping and behavioral coping.
This large-scale online study provides initial evidence that various coping strategies may mediate the relationship between
three sources of social support and anxiety in quarantine to some extent. Given that coping against COVID-19 is a valuable
reasearch goal upon the global ongoing challenge, the fndings will shed more light on the mechanism in the link between
coping, social support, and anxiety.