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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A survey of active and inactive crisis centre volunteers Driol, Myrna Ellen


The purpose of the study was to explore the experience of crisis centre volunteers. The research sample consisted of 134 active and 105 inactive volunteers from five crisis centres in the Lower Mainland. To solicit descriptive and non-descriptive data, an instrument was constructed and pilot tested. The questionnaire contained 49 attitude items which were collected from the literature and interviews with crisis centre staff and volunteers. They were grouped into six subscales suggested by a modified latent partition analysis. These subscales were A: Doing Shifts, B: The Community, C: Personal Change, D: General Impression, F: Other Volunteers. The subscales were found to be internally consistent (Hoyt, 1941). Volunteers responded to a five-point Likert Scale for each item. The research questions were: are there differences among five crisis centres, and are there differences between active and inactive volunteers, on each of the six subscales? The volunteers' self-perceived success in dealing with specific problems presented by callers was also examined. Descriptive data from the sample were analyzed using simple frequency counts on variables from each of the five crisis centres. Data from the attitude scales were analyzed to further examine internal consistency of the attitude questionnaire. Finally a 5 x 2 (centre by level of activity) multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) using Wilks1 likelihood ratio criterion was used to analyze the attitude subscales and Sheffe's multiple comparison procedure was applied where appropriate. Results of the statistical testing indicated differences, significant at .05 level between Crisis Centres #1 and #5 and between #4 and #5 on Subscale E: Staff. Significant differences were also found between Crisis Centres #2 and #5 on Subscale F: Other Volunteers. Active volunteers responded more positively than inactive volunteers at .05 level of significance on all subscales except E: Staff. Results indicated fairly narrow ranges in demographic variables however, tests of significance were not undertaken. The significant differences noted in the attitude subscales may be the result of differences in staff-volunteer contact with each other. In those centres where there was more opportunity for staff to relate to volunteers, the volunteers responded more positively to staff-related items. The crisis centre whose volunteers responded more positively to items pertaining to volunteers, has within its structure more opportunity for contact with other volunteers in the diversified activities in which all volunteers and staff participate. This factor together with the comparative isolation of this centre may account for the significantly more positive responses on this subscale. The attitude of volunteers appeared to be very positive toward their experience. They reported positive changes in self-perception and perception of others as a result of their crisis centre experience. It would appear that more focus on the experience of volunteers at crisis centres would be profitable. Several suggests for further research were discussed, particularly related to "burnout" and motives for becoming inactive.

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