WWC review of this study

School engagement mediates long-term prevention effects for Mexican American adolescents.

Gonzales, N., Wong, J., Toomey, R., Millsap, R., Dumka, L., & Mauricio, A. (2014). Prevention Science, 15(6), 929–939.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grades

Reviewed: September 2017

At least one finding shows strong evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Staying in School outcomes—Statistically significant positive effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Did not drop out (%)

Dropout Prevention vs. Business as usual

5 Years

Full sample;
420 students





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

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  • Ethnicity


The study was conducted with three cohorts of seventh-grade students in each of four urban, Title 1 schools located in a southwestern metropolitan area. The intervention included two home visits for each participant, but no information is provided regarding where the nine weekly intervention sessions took place. Similarly, no information is provided regarding where the workshop for the comparison group took place.

Study sample

The authors don't present descriptive information for the analytic sample used to assess the outcome of high school dropout, but they do present descriptive information for the sample that was initially randomized. The randomized sample consisted of 516 Mexican American adolescents who attended 7th grade at one of four high schools in a Southwestern metropolitan area. 82% of these students were born in the U.S. Of those born in Mexico, the median age at which they arrived in the U.S. was five. 49% of students were male and 51% were female. The average age of students at the time of the baseline survey was 12.3 years. The sample appears to have been predominantly low income; across all four schools, 75-85% of students were eligible for free or reduced price lunch.

Intervention Group

The Bridges/Puentes intervention consisted of a two-hour session for student participants once a week for nine weeks, and participating students and their families received two home visits. The student sessions focused on increasing students' abilities to imagine future possible selves, self-regulate, and develop coping strategies. They also sought to promote positive engagement with family members and peers in order to support the adolescents' learning goals and school success. The family sessions focused on parenting strategies, as well as improvement of parent-child communication, positive reinforcement, and schoolwork monitoring from parents, all in the service of facilitating school success. Parents also received information on the expectations of the school and strategies for effective parent-teacher communication.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison group participated with their parents in a single workshop that was 1.5 hours in duration. Unlike the intervention sessions which focused on specific strategies for school success, during this workshop students and parents simply received handouts on school resources, discussed challenges to school success, and developed their own plans to support school success.

Support for implementation

The authors do not present any information on the staff training or technical assistance used to support the implementation of the intervention.


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