Short-Term Effects on Substance Use of the Keepin’ It REAL Pilot Prevention Program: Linguistically Adapted for Youth in Jalisco, Mexico


Substance use prevention, Randomized control trial, Mexico, Adolescents


This article presents the short-term effects of a pilot study of keepin’it REAL (Manténte REAL) conducted in central Mexico by a binational team of investigators. This middle school-based model program for preventing substance use was adapted for Mexico linguistically but not culturally. Two Guadalajara public middle schools were recruited and randomly assigned to either implement the prevention program or serve as a control site. The program was implemented in the treatment site by the students’ regular teachers, who were trained by the research team. Seventh graders in ten classrooms in the treatment and control schools (N = 432) completed a pretest and posttest survey in Spanish similar to the survey utilized in the original efficacy trial of keepin’it REAL in the US. T-tests and OLS regressions were conducted to determine the effects of the intervention on substance use outcomes. Differences between treatment and control groups in frequency of use of alcohol and tobacco, the two substances of choice in this sample, were significant and in the desired direction. Differences in amount of use were also in the preferred direction but were not significant for alcohol and only marginally significant for tobacco. When the sample was split by gender, statistically significant treatment effects remained for females but were not observed among males. Effects of the linguistically adapted version of keepin’it REAL appears to be driven by the change in female use; however, the difference in male and female outcomes was not statistically significant. Implications for cultural adaptation and prevention in Mexico are discussed from a communication competency perspective. The promising results of the pilot study suggest that the linguistic adaptation was effective, but that a comprehensive cultural adaptation of keepin’it REAL in partnership with Mexican investigators and communities may be warranted.

Original Publication Citation

Marsiglia, F. F., *Booth, J., Ayers, S. L., Nuno-Gutierrez, B. L., Kulis, S., & Hoffman, S. (2014). Short-term effects on substance use of the keepin’ it REAL pilot prevention program: Linguistically adapted for youth in Jalisco, Mexico. Prevention Science, 15, 694-704. doi: 10.1007/s11121-013-0421-7

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Prevention Science




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Social Work

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor