21/08/2012 02:00 BST | Updated 01/04/2015 11:59 BST

One In Five See Family For 'Less Than An Hour A Day'

One in five people spend less than an hour a day at home with their families, relying on phones to keep in contact because of the demands of their jobs and the cost of travel.

Telephoning family members is now the most popular way to communicate - ahead of face-to-face conversation, a new report has found.

The Co-operative Bank’s survey of 2,000 adults found 18% of people spend less than an hour a day with their family, but do text, tweet, email, and use Facebook and Twitter to keep in touch with their mothers, partners or children.

Families are relying on phone and text to communicate because of demanding work commitments, the survey found

Donna Dawson, a psychologist, said: "Shared family time offers emotional and psychological rewards. Partners need time with each other in order to strengthen their relationship, while children need time with their parents in order to mature into well-balanced adults.

"‘Physical’ time with each other – such as shared evening meal-times and Sunday lunch – is important because so much of our behaviour, values and personality is formed through interaction with our family.  

"This time should be without the interruption of TV or other electronic devices. When work demands interfere with family time, the next best thing is a phone call, because at least the human voice is a reminder of physical presence.”

Men and women prioritise different ways to spend time with their relatives with woman most likely to attend obligatory family occasions, such as a wedding or funeral, but men preferring to socialise or go drinking with family.

Perhaps surprisingly, report found that men are 1% more likely to help out with household chores when visiting relatives or spending time with family, but women are far more likely to cook.

The report could also suggest busy sons and daughters are less likely to visit elderly relatives, with survey finding the elderly are more likely to speak to their family on the phone, rather than see them in person.

Families prioritise an evening meal together, the survey found

A busy working life was blamed for a lack of human contact, with family members keeping in contact by emailing each other at work, texting or using Facebook - which can be done during office hours.

More than half of those surveyed, 52%, said work was keeping them from spending more time with their families. Others said it was money, study commitments and a lack of time that stopped them going on more family visits or outings.

The fact that more remote forms of communication are increasing in popularity is perhaps not surprising given that over half of people (52%) believe work commitments are preventing them from spending quality family time together.

But Brits are frustrated with their lack of a family life, with 45% saying they would like to spend more time with their family, and 63% of young parents said they wanted to spend more time at home.

Occasions like Christmas are times when family comes first, with 71% spending the holidays together. Many found time to eat together in the evenings, with 71% prioritising sitting down over dinner.