Evidence-Based Programs

Bridges to High School

Bridges is an after school program for middle school students and their parents. It was designed to increase school engagement and achievement, strengthen family-school linkages, and prevent adolescents’ social, emotional, and behavioral problems.

How the Bridges Program Works

The program brings students, parents, and schools together to achieve their shared goal of student success.  Students work together to explore their aspirations and the role of education in reaching them. They learn strategies to achieve long term personal goals and practice life skills to manage problems and challenges. Parents work together to increase awareness and understanding of adolescents’ changing emotional and educational needs. They learn skills to strengthen communication and positive bonds with their students,  structure and monitor their students’ activities and opportunities, and manage adolescents’ emotional problems and risky behaviors.

Evidence For The Bridges Program

A randomized trial in four Phoenix middle schools included 516 Mexican American 7th graders and their parents; 338 were randomly assigned to receive the Bridges program and 178 were assigned to attend a two-hour discussion control group focused on middle school success.

Participation in the Bridges Program resulted in immediate gains:

Compared to those in the control group, adolescents in the Bridges program

  • Reported increased school engagement, more positive family relationships, and greater confidence in their ability to handle stress.
  • Their parents reported  better parent-child communication and parenting skills and fewer adolescent behavior problems.
  • Their teachers reported fewer adolescent behavioral and emotional problems.
  • Their school records showed higher grades and fewer student discipline problems.

Participation in the Bridges Program led to lasting benefits in high school:

  • Positive gains found in 7th grade were associated with decreased use of alcohol and drugs,  decreased association with deviant peer groups, fewer emotional problems, and lower rates of high school dropout for adolescents in the Bridges program.  

Current Study

We are now partnering with Title 1 schools to redesign the original program so it can be implemented as a sustainable, cost-effective, technology-assisted program in schools across the state and nationally.

The aims of this study are to:

  • Optimize the program to reduce cost, ease of delivery, and efficiency while maintaining high quality implementation.
  • Evaluate the effects and cost effectiveness of the shortened program on youth academic outcomes, emotional and behavioral problems, and substance use.
  • Examine whether effects on youth outcomes are mediated by improvements in targeted youth and parent competencies and by changes in youth self-regulation.
  • Evaluate differential effects based on youth and family risk and language of delivery (English vs. Spanish).
  • Examine how program quality and fidelity influence program effects.

Interested Schools and School Districts

Our ultimate aim is to increase the capacity of schools to work with parents toward the common goal of preparing youth to succeed in school and reach their full potential as adults.

Schools interested in learning more should contact the Bridges Project Director, Dr. Sandy Losoya, at 480-727-0812.

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Bridges website coming soon.

Investigators: Nancy Gonzales, Larry Dumka, Nancy Eisenberg, Linda Luecken, Anne Mauricio, Jenn-Yun Tein, Emily Winslow and Roger Millsap.


NIDA Grant R01 DA035855-01A1. Optimizing a Drug Abuse Prevention Program for Dissemination.

Principal Investigators: N. Gonzales, L. Dumka, N. Eisenberg, L. Luecken, A. Mauricio, J.Y. Tein, & E Winslow. 2014-2019

NIMH Grant RO1 MH64707-01. Follow-up of a Preventive Intervention for Mexican American Adolescents.

Principal Investigators: N. Gonzales, L. Dumka & R. Millsap. 2008-2014

NICHD, Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Fellowship, Parenting and Adolescent Risky Sexual Behavior.

Principal Investigator: M. Germn; Mentors, N. Gonzales & S. West. 2006-2008

NIMH Grant R01 MH64707-6-01. A Preventive Intervention for Mexican American Adolescents.

Principal Investigators: N. Gonzales, L. Dumka, & R. Millsap. 2001-2007

NIMH, Ruth L. Kirschstein National Service Award Fellowship, Investigating Adverse Effects of Adolescent Group Interventions.

Principal Investigator: J.J. Wong; Mentors N. Gonzales & S. West. 2014-2014


  • Dillman-Carpentier, F., Mauricio, A.M., & Gonzales, N. G. (2007) Engaging Mexican origin families in  a school-based preventative intervention. Journal of Primary Prevention, 28 (6), 521-546.
  • Dumka, L.E., Mauricio, A.M., & Gonzales, N.G. (2007). Research partnerships with schools to implement preventive interventions for Mexican origin families. Journal of Primary Prevention, 28 (5), 403-420.
  • Gonzales, N.A., Dumka, L.E., Mauricio, A.M., & Germn, M. (2007).  Building Bridges:  Strategies to Promote Academic and Psychological Resilience for Adolesccents of Mexican Origin.  In J.E. Lansford, K. Deater-Deckard, & M.H. Bornstein (Eds.) Immigrant Families in Contemporary Society. (pp. 268-286) New York, NY: Guilford Press.
  • Gonzales, N.A., German, M., Kim, S.Y., George, P., & Fabrett, F.C., Millsap, R., & Dumka, L.E. (2008).  Mexican American Adolescents’ Cultural Orientation, Problem Behavior and Academic Engagement: The Role of Traditional Cultural Values. American Journal of Community Psychology, 41 (1-2), 151-164.
  • Dumka, L.E. Gonzales, N.A., Bonds, D., & Millsap, R. (2009).  Academic success in Mexican origin adolescents: The role of mothers’ and fathers’ parenting and cultural orientation. Sex Roles, 60, 588-599.
  • Germn, M., Gonzales, N.A., Dumka, L.E. (2009). Familism Values as a Protective Factor for Mexican-origin Adolescents Exposed to Deviant Peers. Journal of Early Adolescence, 29, 16-42.
  • Gonzales, N.A., Fabrett, F.C., & Knight, G.P. (2009).  Psychological Impact of Latino Youth Acculturation and Enculturation.  In F. A. Villaruel, G. Carlo, M. Azmitia, J. Grau, N. Cabrera, & J. Chahin (Eds.)  Handbook of U.S. Latino Psychology. (pp. 115-134). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
  • Gonzales, N. A., Germn, M., & Fabrett, F. C. (in press). U.S. Latino Youth. In E.C. Chang & C.A. Downey (Eds.) Mental Health Across Racial Groups:  Lifespan Perspectives.  New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
  • Knight, G. P., Gonzales, N. A., Saenz, D. S., Bonds, D., Germn, M., Deardorff, J., Roosa, M. W., & Updegraff, K. A. (2010). The Mexican American Cultural Values Scale for adolescents and adults. Journal of Early Adolescence, 30, 444-481.
  • Dumka, L.E., Gonzales, N.A., Wheeler, L.A., & Millsap, R.E. (2010). Parenting self-efficacy and parenting practices over time in Mexican American families.  Journal of Family Psychology, 24, 522-531.
  • Liu, F. F., Gonzales, N. A., Fernandez, A.C., Millsap, R., Dumka, L.E. (2011) Family Stress and Coping for Mexican Origin Adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 40 (3), 385-397.
  • Gonzales, N.A., Dumka, L.E., Millsap, R.E., Gottschall, A., McClain, D.B., Wong, J.J., Germn, M., Mauricio, A.M., Wheeler, L., Carpentier, F. D., Kim, S. Y. (2012). Randomized trial of a broad preventive intervention for Mexican American adolescents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 80, 1-16.
  • McClain, D.B., Wheeler, L.A., Wong, J.J., Mauricio, A.M., & Gonzales, N.A. (2012).  The Role of Parents and Peers in the Psychological and Academic Adaptation of Youth in Urban Communities.  In G. Creasey and P. Jarvis (Eds.), Adolescent Development and School Achievement in Urban Communities: Resilience in the Neighborhood.  New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor and Francis.
  • Millsap, R.E. & Olivera-Aguilar, M. (in press). Investigating measurement invariance  using confirmatory factor analysis. In R. Hoyle (Ed.) Handbook of Structural Equation Modeling. New York: Guilford.
  • Umaa-Taylor, A. J., Wong, J. J., Gonzales, N. A., & Dumka, L. E. (2012). Ethnic identity and gender as moderators of the association between discrimination and academic adjustment among Mexican-origin adolescents. Journal of Adolescence, 35, 773-786.
  • Gonzales, N.A.,Germn, M., & Fabrett, F. C. (2012).  U.S. Latino Youth.  In E.C. Chang & C.A. Downey (Eds.)  Handbook of Race and Development in Mental Health. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
  • Dumka, L. E., Gonzales, N. A., Bonds McClain, D. D., & Millsap, R. (2013). Family, culture, gender and Mexican American adolescents’ academic success. In S. Chuang & C. Tamis-Lamonda (Eds.), Gender roles in immigrant families (pp. 155-175). New York: Springer.
  • Brittian, A. S., Toomey, R., Gonzales, N. A., & Dumka, L. E. (2013). Perceived discrimination and Mexican American adolescents’ internalizing and externalizing behaviors: Examining the moderating role of coping strategies, gender, and acculturation. Applied Developmental Science, 17(1), 4-19.
  • Gottschall, A.C., West, S.G., & Enders, C.K. (in press).  A comparison of item-level and scale-level multiple imputation for questionnaire batteries.  Multivariate Behavioral Research.
  • Jensen, M., Wong, J., Gonzales, N. A., & Dumka, L. E. (in press). Long-term effects of a universal family intervention: Mediation through parent-child conflict. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.
  • Gonzales, N.A., Wong, J.J., Toomey, R.B., Millsap, R.E., Dumka, L.E., M., Mauricio, A.M. (in press). School Engagement Mediates Long Term Prevention Effects for Mexican American Adolescents. Prevention Science.
  • Wong, J.J., Gonzales, N.A., Montano, Z., Dumka, L.E., & Millsap, R.E. (in press).  Parenting intervention effects on parental depression: Examining the role of parenting and child behavior.  Journal of Family Psychology.
  • Tyrell, F., Wheeler, L.A., Gonzales, N.A., Dumka, L., & Millsap, R. (in press). Family influences on Mexican American adolescents’ romantic relationships: Moderation by gender and culture. Journal of Research on Adolescence.
  • Mauricio, A.M., Tein, J.Y., Gonzales, N.A., Millsap, R.E., & Dumka, L.E. (pending revisions). Participation Patterns among Mexican American Mothers Enrolled in a Universal Preventive Intervention and their Association with Child Externalizing Outcomes. American Journal of Community Psychology.