Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 949–968 | Cite as

Co-development of Problem Gambling and Depression Symptoms in Emerging Adults: A Parallel-Process Latent Class Growth Model

  • Jason D. EdgertonEmail author
  • Matthew T. Keough
  • Lance W. Roberts
Original Paper


This study examines whether there are multiple joint trajectories of depression and problem gambling co-development in a sample of emerging adults. Data were from the Manitoba Longitudinal Study of Young Adults (n = 679), which was collected in 4 waves across 5 years (age 18–20 at baseline). Parallel process latent class growth modeling was used to identified 5 joint trajectory classes: low decreasing gambling, low increasing depression (81%); low stable gambling, moderate decreasing depression (9%); low stable gambling, high decreasing depression (5%); low stable gambling, moderate stable depression (3%); moderate stable problem gambling, no depression (2%). There was no evidence of reciprocal growth in problem gambling and depression in any of the joint classes. Multinomial logistic regression analyses of baseline risk and protective factors found that only neuroticism, escape-avoidance coping, and perceived level of family social support were significant predictors of joint trajectory class membership. Consistent with the pathways model framework, we observed that individuals in the problem gambling only class were more likely using gambling as a stable way to cope with negative emotions. Similarly, high levels of neuroticism and low levels of family support were associated with increased odds of being in a class with moderate to high levels of depressive symptoms (but low gambling problems). The results suggest that interventions for problem gambling and/or depression need to focus on promoting more adaptive coping skills among more “at-risk” young adults, and such interventions should be tailored in relation to specific subtypes of comorbid mental illness.


Emerging adulthood Problem gambling Depression Dual trajectory classes Risk/protective factors 



This research was funded by the Manitoba Gambling Research Program of Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries (Grant # MGRP-FR-12-14-11); however, the findings and conclusions of this paper are those solely of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

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