Year: 2018 Source: Psychology, Health & Medicine. (2017). 22(10), 1169-1174. SIEC No: 20180019

Samaritan listening volunteers provide emotional support to people in distress or suicidal. Samaritans’ has high volunteer turnover, which may be due to burnout. This study evaluated the role of demographic and psychosocial factors in predicting Samaritans listening volunteers’ burnout and health status. Samaritans’ listening volunteers (n = 216) from seven branches across UK completed an online survey to assess their levels of burnout (emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation, personal accomplishment), subjective health status, coping, empathy and social support. Overall, listeners showed low levels of burnout and good health. Regression analysis revealed that higher emotional exhaustion was predicted by younger age and avoidant coping style; higher depersonalisation was predicted by lower empathy fantasy and higher avoidant coping style; lower personal accomplishment scores were predicted by higher empathy personal distress and worse health status was predicted by more hours per week spent on listening duties, lower social support and higher avoidant coping style. Overall, different factors influenced different facets of burnout. However, higher use of avoidant coping style consistently predicted higher burnout and worse health status, suggesting avoidant coping is an important target for intervention.