Drug-Resistance Strategies of Early Adolescents in Mexico: Gender Differences in the Influence of Drug Offers and Relationship to the Offeror

Stephen Kulis, Jaime M. Booth, David Becerra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


To address increases in substance use among Mexican adolescents, particularly females, US prevention programs are being adapted to the Mexican cultural context. Understanding how responses to substance offers by Mexican adolescents are shaped by gender and relationships to those making offers is an important step in the adaptation process. Using data from Guadalajara, Mexico middle schools (N = 431), this pilot study tested for gender differences in the use of several drug resistance strategies commonly taught in US substance abuse prevention interventions. Results indicated that the drug-resistance strategies of Mexican early adolescents differ by gender, type of substance offered, and the youth's relationship to the offeror. Contrary to previous research on older Mexican adolescents, in this sample, females received more substance offers from age peers than males did, and employed a wider repertoire of drug-resistance strategies, including active strategies such as direct refusals. Gender differences in use of the strategies persisted after controlling for number of offers received. There were gender differences in the conditional effects of greater exposure to offers. A larger volume of alcohol and cigarette offers predicted females' use of direct strategies more strongly than for males, but less strongly than males for marijuana offers. Females' use of drug resistance strategies was more strongly associated with offers from family adults, siblings, and cousins, while males' use of strategies was predicted more strongly by offers from nonfamily adults. Interpretations and prevention implications are discussed in light of changing gender norms in Mexico and gendered patterns of substance use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)370-382
Number of pages13
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 23 2016


  • Drug resistance
  • Mexican youth
  • adolescents
  • gender differences
  • substance offers
  • substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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