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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Personality and value characteristics of volunteers and professionals at three different social service agencies Merritt, Nancy Gail


The Personality Research Form-E (Jackson, 1974), the Value Survey (Rokeach, 1967) and the Personal Description Questionnaire (Wiggins, 1976) were administered to 79 volunteers and 32 professionals from three social service agencies., These agencies included Alternatives Drug Abuse Program, a program for the rehabilitation of ex-drug addicts, the Crisis Centre which operated telephone hotlines for individuals experiencing emotional distress, and the St. John Ambulance Brigade which provided emergency help to physical crisis situations. These agencies differed in terms of their service roles which were described as "emotional noncrisis", "emotional crisis" and "physical crisis", respectively. A comparison of the three volunteer groups revealed a significant relationship between agency role and the personality, characteristics of its volunteers. The Alternatives volunteers held self-enhancement values more highly than the St. John group who, in turn, regarded traditional values as more important. The Alternatives group also scored significantly higher on the dimensions of Autonomy, Sentience, and Understanding and lower on Nurturance and Succorance than the St. John group. On all of the dependent measures the scores of the Crisis Centre or "emotional crisis" group fell between those of the other two groups — the "emotional noncrisis" and the "physical crisis" groups. Comparing all volunteers with all professionals revealed differences related to their respective status levels. The differences, wherein the professionals were found to be significantly more dominant, extroverted, exhibitionistic and achievement-oriented, were discussed in terms of the different levels of responsibility assumed by the two groups. A final comparison involved determining how closely the volunteers and professionals from the same agency resembled each other. The results of this investigation revealed that the volunteers were closer, in terms of values and personality, to professionals at their own agencies than to volunteers from other agencies. The implications of these findings towards the development of effective selection, placement and evaluation techniques for volunteers at different agencies were discussed.

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