4906.0.55.003 - Personal Safety Survey, Australia: User Guide, 2016  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/11/2017   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All



Information was obtained from men and women aged 18 years and over in the 2016 PSS.


Social connectedness in the context of this survey is the measure of how people come together and interact, at an individual level.

The questions used in this module seek to identify recent types of social interaction the respondent has had with friends, and the ability of the respondent to ask people who they don’t live with for small favours or for support in a time of crisis.

A time of crisis refers to a time of trouble which is out of the ordinary for most people, for example:

  • Sudden sickness
  • Death of a partner/spouse
  • Loss of job
  • Breakdown of marriage/relationship
  • Fire or flood


The Social Connectedness module comprises four questions.

The first asks about participation in three types of social activities in the three months prior to the interview:
  • Visited or was visited by friends
  • Went out with or met friends to do indoor or outdoor activities
  • Social contact via the Internet

The second asks about help the respondent might ask for from other people, who don’t live with them, in their day to day lives, including:
  • Look after the respondents pets or water their garden while away from home
  • Collect their mail or check their house while they are away from home
  • Mind a child for a brief period
  • Help with moving or lifting objects
  • Help out when they are sick or injured (e.g. the flu or sprained ankle)
  • Borrow tools or equipment

The third and fourth questions related to the ability to ask someone, who does not live with them, for particular types of support in a time of crisis as well as the source of support. Support could be in the form of emotional, physical or financial help. Examples of types of support a person might ask for were provided as a guide, including:
  • Advice on what to do
  • Emotional support
  • Help out when the respondent has a serious illness or injury
  • Help to maintain family or work responsibilities
  • Provide emergency money, accommodation or food

Potential sources of support could be family members, friends, neighbours, work colleagues and various community, government and professional organisations. Respondents were able to identify more than one source of support.


The data items and related output categories for this topic are contained within the SPS Level – Social connect tab in the data item list which is available in Excel spreadsheet format from the Downloads tab of this product.


Data for this topic has been collected to provide further analytical possibilities around the relationship between social connectedness and characteristics of people who experience violence.

Data from this topic should not be used to only produce population estimates of social connectedness statistics. The data should only be used in conjunction with other data related to experiences of violence collected in this survey.


Points to be considered in interpreting this topic include:
  • Participation in social activities identified visiting friends or going out with friends. It did not reference social activities with family members. This data is therefore focused on social networks outside their family members. Data regarding social contact via the internet was not limited by relationship type and therefore could include contact with family members.
  • Sources of support for day-to-day activities or in a time of crisis refer to people who do not live with the respondent. As such, this data does not identify if the respondent does not have support at all.
  • The social connectedness data collected in this survey is not designed to produce estimates about the levels of social connectedness in the population. The social connectedness data produced should therefore only be used in conjunction with other violence prevalence data.


This topic was first introduced in the 2012 PSS. Data is considered comparable between 2012 and 2016.