A new study has found that one-in-20 people in the North West has no close friends.

The survey finds some concerning statistics, including 15% of people in the region rarely or never feeling loved.

"The Way We Are Now 2014" produced by Relate and Relationships Scotland also finds a strong connection between relationships and personal wellbeing.

It suggests relationships act as "shock absorbers" when times are hard and also help to achieve goals.

Crucially, the study found people who enjoy good quality relationships also have higher levels of wellbeing, while relationships of poor quality are detrimental to health.

Sarah Hall, chief executive of Relate Cheshire & Merseyside, said: “This new study examines the quality of our relationships, showing a clear link between our personal relationships and our wellbeing.

"While there is much to celebrate, the results around how close we feel to others are very concerning. There is a significant minority of people who claim to have no close friends, or who never or rarely feel loved – something which is unimaginable to many of us.

“Relationships are the asset which can get us through good times and bad, and it is worrying to think that there are people who feel they have no one they can turn to during life’s challenges.

"We know that strong relationships are vital for both individuals and society as a whole, so investing in them is crucial.”

The study, which questioned 5,000 people, also found:

  • One in five in the North West are dissatisfied with their sex life (21%)
  • More than one in five people report having an affair (22%)
  • 15% of people never or rarely felt loved in the two weeks before the surve
  • Almost one in four people in the North West have experienced the breakdown of their parents’ relationship (23%)
  • 65% think money worries are one of the biggest strains on a relationship

On the brighter side, more than eight out of ten people in the North West have a good relationship with their partner (86%).