The Telephone Counsellor Inventory (TCI) was developed and administered to 149 men and women who either were or had been volunteer telephone counsellors at Life Line in Brisbane. Three burnout factors were identified and named Essential Burnout, Self Doubt, and Isolation. Discriminant analysis showed that a weighted composite of all three factors significantly discriminated between ex and current counsellors (p < . 0001). The Essential Burnout Factor significantly contributed to the discrimination (p < .0001) and so did the Self Doubt Factor (p < . 05). Ex-counsellors as a group had higher burnout scores than current counsellors on all three factors. These results suggest that burnout may contribute to counsellor resignations. Frequency of past burnout experiences was found to significantly predict scores on the Essential Burnout Factor (p < . 0001), suggesting that people who have more frequently experienced burnout in the past are more likely to be experiencing burnout in the present. Recent life stressors, length of service, and regularity in the performance of shifts were not found to be significant predictors of scores on the Essential Burnout Factor. Scores on both the Essential Burnout Factor and the Isolation Factor were found to significantly predict the extent to which ex-counsellors attributed their resignations as due to burnout (p < . 001 for Essential Burnout and p< . 0001 for Isolation). Also a composite of scores on all three factors was found to significantly predict the extent to which ex-counsellors attributed their resignations as due to burnout (p < . 0001). This suggests that subjects were to some extent aware of the extent to which burnout had influenced their resignations.
Open-ended questions were used to determine other counsellor attitudes to their work and the organisation. Answers indicated that dissatisfied counsellors would prefer more personal attention and positive re-assurance of their worth.