Thesis

Continued participation versus attrition of volunteers counseling the dying and bereaved

This thesis was a causal-comparative study of continued participation versus attrition of volunteer thanatology and bereavement counselors. Hypotheses were formulated based on literature in the areas of death attitudes, volunteer workers, job satisfaction and life satisfaction. Measures of coping skills, flexibility, accumulated losses, satisfaction with training and supervision, affiliation with coworkers and death attitudes were tested in a questionnaire administered to twenty-nine current thanatology and bereavement counselors and thirty-nine former counselors. Findings failed to reject the hypotheses that there is no difference between current and former volunteer counselors on measures of coping skills, flexibility, accumulated losses, satisfaction with training and supervision, and death attitudes. Data did refute the hypothesis that on measures of affiliation with their coworkers there would be no difference between current and former counselors. Current counselors reported socializing with their coworkers with greater frequency than did former counselors, significant at .05. Possible validity and reliability problems were noted for this and other measures in the questionnaire. The need for further study was discussed. Based on the findings of this study, recommendations were made for facilitating interaction and socialization among counselors. Such implementation could result in a lower attrition rate of volunteer thanatology and bereavement counselors.

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