On the Line: An Investigation of Stress and Burnout in Helpline Volunteers

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Title: On the Line: An Investigation of Stress and Burnout in Helpline Volunteers
Authors: Ivers, Mary E.
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/12800
Date: 2001
Online since: 2022-04-27T09:12:21Z
Abstract: The main aim of this study was to identify the prevalence of stress and burnout in a sample of Irish helpline volunteers. A further aim was to investigate both the factors that contribute to and that help manage stress and burnout. Many helplines have reported difficulties with volunteer numbers, and up to recently they regularly lost as many as were gained. Although stress and burnout are recognised as leading causes of high organisational turnover, no empirical studies have examined this issue in the Irish helpline volunteer. Eighty-five helpline volunteers, sixty-five females and twenty males, whose ages ranged from 19 to 78 years (mean age = 44.46, SD = 15.95) took part in the study. They represented four Dublin based helpline organisations. Preliminary interviews identified a number of factors that were incorporated into a questionnaire, which was a modified version of the measure devised by Cyr & Dowrick (1991). This examined factors that contribute to and help manage stress and burnout in the current context. Additional measures of motivation, empathy, psychological well-being, burnout, support, and coping approaches were also used. Results show that volunteers experience low overall levels of stress and burnout. However, up to a third of volunteers gave cause for concern. Some volunteers exhibited high levels of stress and burnout with a proportion exhibiting clinical levels of distress. In addition, the study found that age, Job factors and Personal factors contributed most to stress and burnout and that personal factors and volunteer group factors helped most to manage that experience. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for helpline organisations, and some strategies are suggested for reducing stress and burnout in helpline volunteers such as ongoing training, an annual stress audit and the introduction of a recognition and rewards system.
Type of material: Master Thesis
Publisher: University College Dublin. Department of Psychology
Qualification Name: M.Litt.
Copyright (published version): 2001 the Author
Keywords: VolunteeringHelplinesStressBurnoutPredictorsContributing factors
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
This item is made available under a Creative Commons License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ie/
Appears in Collections:Psychology Theses

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