Skill Deficit or Differential Motivation? Accounting for Sex Differences in the Provision of Emotion Support

Document Type



Published by Sage Publications in Communication Research Volume 30, Number 3, pages 272-303.

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Publication Source

Communication Research


Although researchers have proposed a skill deficit account for observed gender differences in the provision of emotional support, few studies have directly tested the claim that men are less capable of providing effective support. This study advances an alternative account for gender differences in the effectiveness of supportive communication, arguing that gender differences may emerge because men and women respond differently to situational factors that influence the motivation to provide sensitive emotional support.