On the tendency for volunteer helpers to give advice

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Abstract

The responses of volunteers to telephone crisis calls were evaluated to determine the presence of appropriate types of statements to offer to a caller during the initial phase of a call. Sample responses were drawn from 350 males and females who volunteered for a community crisis-line service. Ss ranged in age from 18 to 65 yrs and had a wide range of educational and occupational experiences. Random selections of 30 tape-recorded responses to each of 12 simulated calls were analyzed using the scoring system reported by C. K. Whalen and J. V. Flowers (see record 1978-05656-001). At least 70% of the responses were advisements. The average percentage of advisements was particularly high for calls dealing with the areas of loneliness and dating. Feelings expressed by the callers were ignored by most of the volunteers. This pattern of many advisements and few reflections is considered inappropriate for the goals of most helping agencies. Implications for selection and training of volunteers are developed. (4 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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