Date of Graduation

Spring 2021


Master of Arts in Communication



Committee Chair

Isabelle Bauman


Sex differences, sex, conflict, perception, communication, clarity, disclosure, appropriateness

Subject Categories

Critical and Cultural Studies | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication


Although current research indicates small effect sizes with sex differences in communication and some believe gender and culture to be the primary influence of conflict communication style, i.e., abstraction and perception, emotional talk, conflict management styles, capacity to empathize, and argumentativeness style, sex may be more responsible because of the biological properties of brain function and hormone effect. This research intends to compare male and female perceptual and behavioral reactions during communication in conflict. The measure of sex (i.e., the biological difference between men and women) in communication during conflict is used for this study. To ensure a homogeneous sample with respect to certain demographic variables, students in a public speaking course from a large Midwest university served as subjects for the study; 161 undergraduate students, 80 identified as male, 79 identified as female, and 2 missing. They were given an online survey for extra credit. The Institutional Review Board approved the survey distributed. The survey consists of five demographic items, twenty-two Likert scale questions about gender, twenty Likert scale questions about conflict style, and four Likert Scale questions about meaning coding in conflict situations. Using an Independent T-test, the results showed no significant difference between the two sexes and their perception of messages during conflict.


© Erin J. Snider

Open Access