Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 867–885 | Cite as

Validation of the Gambling Motives Questionnaire in Emerging Adults

  • Laura Lambe
  • Sean P. Mackinnon
  • Sherry H. Stewart
Original Paper


People engage in gambling behaviour for a variety of different reasons, some of which are riskier than others in terms of associations with heavy and problem gambling. Stewart and Zack (Addiction 103:1110–1117, 2008) developed a measure called the Gambling Motives Questionnaire (GMQ) that assesses levels of three distinct gambling motives: enhancement (to increase positive emotions), coping (to decrease negative emotions), and social (to increase affiliation). While this measure has been validated in a community-recruited sample of middle-aged gamblers, the GMQ has yet to be validated in emerging adulthood (ages 18–25 years)—a developmental period associated with increased risk for heavy and problematic gambling. The current project tested the psychometric properties of the GMQ in a community sample of emerging adult gamblers using archival data from the Manitoba Longitudinal Study of Young Adults. Participants (N = 487; 73.9 % Caucasian; 52.6 % female; mean age 22.23 years) completed the GMQ and questionnaire measures of gambling behaviour and problems. Exploratory factor analysis revealed that a three-factor model adequately fit the data; however, problematic items were identified. A modified 9-item version of the GMQ with the problem items removed fit the data well. Both the original 15-item and the 9-item versions had acceptable subscale alpha reliabilities (αs >.78). While all three subscales (from both the 9-item and 15-item versions) were positively correlated with problem gambling, only enhancement motives emerged as a significant independent predictor when the other motives and gambling behaviours were entered as simultaneous predictors. These results suggest the GMQ is a valid measure for tapping motives in emerging adults, and that high enhancement motives are particularly predictive of gambling problems in this developmental period. Future intervention efforts might specifically target enhancement motives in emerging adults.


Emerging adult gamblers Gambling Motives Questionnaire (GMQ) Validation of the GMQ Coping motives Enhancement motives Social motives 



This study was funded by an operating grant from the Manitoba Gambling Research Program (MGRP) of Manitoba Lotteries awarded to Sherry H. Stewart and Sean P. Mackinnon; however, the findings and conclusions of this paper are those solely of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Manitoba Lotteries. The Manitoba Gaming Control Commission, the Manitoba Lotteries Corporation, and the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba graciously permitted the researchers access to the Manitoba Longitudinal Study of Young Adults (MLSYA) dataset. Sean P. Mackinnon was supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Laura Lambe was supported by a summer studentship from the Faculty of Science Summer Studentship program at Dalhousie University. Pam Collins and Jennifer Swansburg are thanked for their research assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Lambe
    • 1
  • Sean P. Mackinnon
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sherry H. Stewart
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Life Sciences CentreDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

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