Sean P. Mackinnon, Laura Lambe, & Sherry H. Stewart
At least three types of gambling motives have been proposed: coping motives (gambling to reduce negative affect), enhancement motives (gambling to enhance positive affect), and social motives (gambling to increase social affiliation). Few studies have examined the underlying personality traits that give rise to these different motivations. The present study tests the longitudinal link between changes in five-factor model personality domains and gambling motives among emerging adults. A sample of 679 emerging adults (Mage = 18.90 years; 51.8% female) was recruited as part of the Manitoba Longitudinal Study of Young Adults (MLSYA). Participants completed self-report questionnaires across four measurement occasions, with each measurement 12–18 months apart. The NEO Five Factor Inventory was administered at waves 1 and 3, and the Gambling Motives Questionnaire was administered at wave 4. Data were analyzed using longitudinal structural equation modeling. Emerging adults who experienced increases in neuroticism had higher coping motives at a subsequent wave. Those who experienced increases in extraversion had higher enhancement and social motives. Those who experienced increases in agreeableness had lower social and coping motives. Changes in conscientiousness and openness were unrelated to any of the motives after controlling for all other variables. Extraversion and agreeableness predicting social motives were the most robust findings. A multigroup analysis showed the measurement and structural models did not differ by sex. Longitudinal changes in five-factor model personality domains were linked to specific motives for gambling in a theoretically-expected fashion. Results have implications for personality-targeted interventions for problem gamblers.