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UNLABELLED: Lockdown measures during the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in drastic disruptions of university students' everyday life and study mode, such as marked reductions in face-to-face teaching activities. Previous research on student mental health during the pandemic found that prolonged campus relocation had negative effects on students' mental well-being. However, these studies focussed on the initial lockdown period, or periods of active lockdown measures. This longitudinal study collected 456 observations of 23 undergraduate students in the Netherlands using ecological momentary assessment data on mental health related items (anxiety, stress, social context) during the first two weeks of on-campus teaching after prolonged lockdown measures. Using multi-level dynamic network modelling, we analysed the temporal and contemporaneous interplay of students' mental health factors following the return to campus in September 2021. On average, students reported low to medium scores on stress and anxiety both before and after the assessment period. Results of network analyses showed that students experienced social unease in relation to accumulating difficulties at university and vice versa. Furthermore, there were clusters of different states of social unease next to clusters of stress, anger, loss of control, and feeling upset. Lastly, we found beneficial effects of self-efficacy on experiencing social comfort in university. We discuss implications and concrete examples of interventions in universities, such as the promotion of self-efficacy, providing guidance in structuring study load, as well as help with stress management. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s12144-022-03196-7.

Original publication




Journal article


Curr Psychol

Publication Date



1 - 13


COVID-19, Ecological momentary assessment, Mental health, Network analysis, University students