Online Program

Calling backline: Evaluating the services of a talkline dedicated to pregnancy, parenting, abortion, and adoption

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 1:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.

Jessica Silva, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Shelly Dodson, Backline, Oakland, CA
J. Parker Dockray, MSW, Backline, Oakland, CA
Angel M. Foster, DPhil, MD, AM, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa & Ibis Reproductive Health, Cambridge, MA
Background: Backline, an independent non-profit organization, operates a bi-national talkline that provides a confidential, toll-free space for individuals to find comprehensive, medically accurate, and unbiased information and support around pregnancy, parenting, abortion, and adoption. Through an analysis of calls received over a one year period, this study aims to understand better the demographic profile of callers and explore the issues raised during their conversations with advocates. Methods: We analyzed talkline call logs from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012 and used descriptive statistics and content and thematic analytic techniques to evaluate the calls. Results: Over the study period, Backline advocates completed 484 call logs. Callers to the talkline overwhelming identified as female (92.3%) and as seeking support for themselves (91.1%). Although bi-national in scope, over a fourth of all callers (28.3%) identified as being from California or the Pacific Northwest (including BC). The majority of callers contacted the talkline seeking abortion information, resources, and/or support (33.0%), pregnancy options counseling (26.6%), or post-abortion support (13.1%). Issues of social support or lack thereof emerged as a major theme in the calls and callers identified unsupportive spouses/partners, lack of financial resources, and perceived social stigma as being major sources of distress. Conclusions: The findings from this study suggest that there is demand for resources dedicated to providing non-judgmental, non-directive counseling and support for a full range of issues related to pregnancy and parenting. Identifying mechanisms to expand independent, confidential, phone-based support services for women and their loved ones appears warranted.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the services provided by Backline Assess the types of calls received by the talkline Identify avenues for expanding services

Keyword(s): Pregnancy, Counseling

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I hold the Echo Endowed Chair in Women's Health Research at the University of Ottawa where I am an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences. I am also an Affiliated Scholar at Ibis Reproductive Health. I have been involved with this project since its inception and have worked on all phases of the study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.