One of the procedures used most recently with longitudinal data is linear mixed models. In the context of health research the increasing number of studies that now use these models bears witness to the growing interest in this type of analysis. This paper describes the application of linear mixed models to a longitudinal study of a sample of Spanish adolescents attending a mental health service, the aim being to investigate their knowledge about the consumption of alcohol and other drugs. More specifically, the main objective was to compare the efficacy of a motivational interviewing programme with a standard approach to drug awareness. The models used to analyse the overall indicator of drug awareness were as follows: (a) unconditional linear growth curve model; (b) growth model with subject-associated variables; and (c) individual curve model with predictive variables. The results showed that awareness increased over time and that the variable ‘schooling years’ explained part of the between-subjects variation. The effect of motivational interviewing was also significant.