Sex Roles

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 195–204

Sex differences in communication skills as measured by a modified relationship inventory

  • John E. Dalton


Previous studies have provided some indication that females are more empathic than males and that individuals show greater empathy when relating to persons of the same sex. Because the research has been equivocal, the present study attempted to replicate these findings for not only empathy but also three other communication skills measured by the Barrett-Lennard Relationship Inventory: congruence, regard, and unconditionality of regard. The subjects for this study were 20 male and 41 female students in an undergraduate experiential course in interpersonal relations. All students were placed in training groups, and the co-trainers for these groups completed ratings on a modified Relationship Inventory for each of their students. Reliability data on this inventory were satisfactory. Female students were given slightly higher ratings on all skills at both the beginning and end of the group experience, but none of the differences were significant. Male co-trainers rated the skills of male students higher than did female co-trainers, but a comparable same-sex effect for female students was not demonstrated. Thus, the experimental hypotheses were partially supported.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • John E. Dalton
    • 1
  1. 1.Loyola University of ChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Psychology Service (116B)Veterans Administration HospitalNorth Chicago

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