Problem Gambling, Coping Motivations, and Positive Expectancies: A Longitudinal Survey Study

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Previous research suggests that gambling motives are important considerations in understanding the etiology and maintenance of gambling-related problems. The present work sought to examine whether beliefs about gambling, such as positive expectations for gambling, may be related to coping motivations for gambling over time and how both might be related to problem gambling behavior. Additionally, the present study sought to establish these relationships above and beyond trait neuroticism. To accomplish these goals, a 6-month longitudinal survey study of Internet using adults was conducted using Amazon Mechanical Turk. Participants were adults in the United States who acknowledged gambling in some form over the 12 months prior to the survey (N = 812; Mage = 36.00, SD = 11.10; 45.6% men). A subset of this sample (n = 373) participated in a follow-up survey 6 months after the original survey. Cross-sectional correlations revealed robust associations between coping motivations, positive expectancies, and problem gambling. Structural equation models revealed unique associations between baseline coping motivations for gambling and future problem gambling over a 6-month period, even when controlling for baseline gambling behaviors. Additionally, baseline neuroticism predicted future coping motivations for gambling after controlling for baseline coping motivations.

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