Culturally grounded substance use prevention: An evaluation of the keepin' it R.E.A.L. curriculum

Michael L. Hecht, Flavio Marsiglia, Elvira Elek, David A. Wagstaff, Stephen Kulis, Patricia Dustman, Michelle Miller-Day

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

260 Scopus citations


This paper reports on the evaluation of a culturally grounded prevention intervention targeting substance use among urban middle-school students. The curriculum consists of 10 lessons promoting antidrug norms and teaching resistance and other social skills, reinforced by booster activities and a media campaign. Three versions were delivered: Mexican American, combined African American and European American, and Multicultural. Thirty-five middle schools were randomly assigned to 1 of the 3 versions or the control. Students completed baseline and follow-up questionnaires over a 2-year period (total 6,035 respondents). Analyses utilizing a generalized estimating equations approach assessed the overall effectiveness of cultural grounding and the cultural matching hypothesis. Support was found for the intervention's overall effectiveness, with statistically significant effects on gateway drug use as well as norms, attitudes, and resistance strategies but with little support for the cultural matching hypothesis. Specific contrasts found the Mexican American and Multicultural versions impacted the most outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-248
Number of pages16
JournalPrevention Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2003


  • Cultural grounding
  • Middle-school students
  • Prevention programs
  • Substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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