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For the past three Christmas periods, Relationships Australia has examined the effect of Christmas stress on family relationships in our two-minute online monthly survey.  These questions identify the Christmas period as a time of high stress for a significant number of families.

Evidence identifies the Christmas period as the most likely time of the year for many people to experience anxiety and depression, particularly those who are divorced, have experienced a death in the family or are socially isolated.  Increased stress over the Christmas period has been associated with financial and time pressure from the costs of buying gifts, entertaining and holidays, and managing competing work-family tensions.  There can be added strain from spending time with family members and it also may represent a time when people negatively reflect on another lost year.  Those people living in separated, blended or stepfamilies can face significant challenges in managing complex family structures and contact arrangements with children.

Relationships Australia sought to further explore the effect of Christmas stress on family relationships by asking visitors to our website to participate in the December 2016 two minute survey.  Results were compared with questions asked in the online survey in December 2014.

Relationships Australia State and Territory websites