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SOCIAL NETWORKS, SUPPORT AND TRUST
In 2010 97% of adults had had some form of contact with family or friends living outside their household in the week prior to the survey (table 1). Over a 3 month period, most people used a combination of methods to contact family and friends. The proportion of people using fixed phones for contacting friends and family dropped from 91% in 2006 to 83% in 2010, while mobile phone/SMS use for such contact increased from 77% to 84%. Use of Internet services, such as email and chat rooms, as a method of contact with family and friends increased from 47% in 2006 to 60% in 2010 while the use of postal services for maintaining such contact has fallen from 31% to 24% (table 33). The most common methods used to contact family and friends varied depending on age, with mobile phone and Internet the most common contact method used by younger age groups and fixed phone predominantly used by age groups older than 45-54 years (graph 5.2).
In 2010 the levels of social attachment, as measured by weekly contact (in all its forms) with family and friends, or by the ability to either ask for small favours or to get support in a time of crisis, were similar to the levels reported in 2002 and 2006. Most (93%) adults reported being able to ask people outside of their household for small favours, such as looking after pets, collecting mail, watering gardens, minding a child for a brief period, or borrowing equipment. Similarly, most people (94%) reported that, in a time of crisis, they could get support from outside their household (table 1).