The current study had two goals. The first goal was to test the mediational role of young adult personality in the relation between parental alcoholism and young adult alcoholism. The second was to examine the associations between personality and alcohol use motives and reasons to limit drinking in order to explore possible mechanisms by which personality may influence alcohol abuse/dependence. Multilevel modeling techniques were used to analyze data obtained from a community sample of young adult children of alcoholics and demographically matched controls. Results revealed that young adult neuroticism and agreeableness each, in part, mediated the effect of parental alcoholism on young adult alcoholism. Moreover, individuals high in neuroticism reported stronger coping motives to use alcohol, individuals low in agreeableness reported stronger coping motives and weaker upbringing reasons to limit drinking, and individuals low in conscientiousness reported stronger coping and enhancement motives to use alcohol, and weaker performance reasons to limit drinking.