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Survey results

Around 850 people responded to Relationships Australia’s online survey between 1 and 18 December, 2014. Similar to the October and November online surveys, around 80 per cent of respondents identified as female, with women outnumbering men in every age group (see figure below). Around 90 per cent of survey respondents were aged between 20-59 years, with the peak response category capturing the views of women aged from 30 to 39 years.

The demographic profile of survey respondents remains consistent with our expectations of the groups of people that would be accessing the Relationships Australia website.

Around one-third of male and female survey respondents indicated that work-life balance factors ‘extremely’ negatively affected their family relationships at Christmas or affected these relationships ‘quite a bit’ (see figure below).  One-third of people responding to the monthly survey also reported that financial worries affected their family relationships ‘extremely’ or ‘quite a bit’ at Christmas, with men (37%) reporting higher negative effects on family relationships than women (34%).

When asked about the effects of increased consumption of food, drugs, alcohol or gambling on their family relationships at Christmas, 16 per cent of men and women reported that their relationships were affected ‘quite a bit’ or ‘extremely’.  Similarly, around one-sixth of women (17%) reported their family relationships were affected ‘quite a bit’ or ‘extremely’ by different expectations, beliefs or values around Christmas.  In contrast, almost one-third of men (28%) reported significant effects on their family relationships due to this factor.

Around one-fifth of men and women responding to the monthly online survey reported their family relationships were affected ‘quite a bit’ or extremely’ by issues relating to children from a previous relationships at Christmas.  Given that this question is likely to have lower relevance to all survey respondents than other questions, this result indicates a high rate of family relationship stress at Christmas for blended and/or separated families.

The largest effect on family relationships reported by men responding to the monthly online survey related to spending time with extended family, including in-laws (40%).  Around thirty per cent of women also reported that their family relationships were affected ‘quite a bit’ or ‘extremely’ due to spending time with extended family at Christmas, similar to women’s reports of work/life balance and financial issues.

Relationships Australia State and Territory websites