Telephone helplines : volunteering from a male and female perspective

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Wallace, Edel
Issue Date
BA (Hons) in Social Science
Dublin Business School
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CONTEXT: Helplines for people suffering with depression provide confidential telephone listening services for many in Ireland and are operated by volunteers. It was the aim of this research project to explore the experiences, perceptions and motivations of volunteers who operate such helplines in order to determine if there is a noticeable difference along gender lines. METHOD: Qualitative research was carried out using personal interviews to elicit information from six volunteers in an attempt to understand their motivations for volunteering and their perceptions of its benefits to themselves and the callers. RESULTS: Data was analysed using thematic analysis and NVivo8 software. It emerged that male and female participants had many similar perceptions of their volunteering experience such as believing it was a positive experience which benefits the volunteers and callers. Yet there were a number of areas where there was a stark difference between male and female replies such as motivation to volunteer and likelihood to make use of carer system.