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Results

More than 900 people responded to the Relationships Australia online survey in December 2017.  Around three-quarters of survey respondents (74%) identified as female, with more females than males responding in every age group (figure 1).  Eighty three per cent of survey respondents were aged between 20‑59 years, and more than 50 per cent of respondents comprised women aged between 30-49 years (inclusive).

As for previous surveys, the demographic profile of survey respondents remains consistent with our experience of the groups of people that would be accessing the Relationships Australia website.

There were significant differences in the reports of male and female survey respondents on the Lubben Social Network Scale and subscales reported at figure 2: total risk of social isolation; risk of isolation from family; and risk of isolation from friends.

The three questions comprising the family subscale included questions relating to how many family members they saw or heard from at least once a month, felt comfortable with talking about private matters and whom they could call on for help.  One-third (34%) of female survey respondents and 39 per cent of male survey respondents reported low levels of connection that identified they were at risk of isolation from family.

The three questions comprising the friends subscale asked respondents to report on how many friends they saw or heard from at least once a month, felt comfortable with talking about private matters and whom they could call on for help.  One-third (32%) of female survey respondents and 40 per cent of male survey respondents reported low levels of connection that identified they were at risk of isolation from friends.

Overall, the results suggest that 34 per cent of female survey respondents and 44 per cent of male survey respondents are at clinical risk of social isolation.  The reports of respondents to December’s monthly online survey suggest levels of social isolation that are substantially greater than those experienced by the broader Australian population.

Relationships Australia State and Territory websites