Physician Assistant M.S.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Boeve, Wallace


The general principle of anxiety has been thoroughly studied in many populations and shown to have variable underlying etiology, partially related to abnormalities in brain chemistry as well as unfamiliar or uncomfortable social situations. The role of environmental factors pertaining to anxiety is the particular interest of this community service project, to which the research team and the staff of the Washington County Jail have focused the efforts of this community service project in improving and reducing anxiety levels among Washington County Jail inmates.The research team and the staff of the Washington County Jail identified the use of pharmacologic agents as the primary resource to which inmates were utilizing for the reduction of anxiety in the incarcerated setting. The use of these pharmacologic agents have not only proven to be costly to the institution, but ineffective for a subset of inmates due to the unwarranted side effects that accompany these medications and the potential for neurophysiologic dependence. As a result, this community service project was established to identify and implement alternative therapies for the reduction of anxiety among Washington County Jail inmates in hopes to decrease the amount of pharmacologic agents being used at the institution.To accomplish the goal of identifying alternative anxiety reducing therapies, the research team reviewed numerous research studies that detailed successful alternative therapies used for the treatment of anxiety among the incarcerated population. In addition, the research team also consulted with a mental health practitioner that was familiar with the Washington County Jail inmate population. Ultimately, the research team identified several strategies that were considered to be both successful in reducing anxiety among the inmates and feasible for the Washington County Jail and jail staff to implement and maintain for future use. The resources identified by the research team include the following: Dr. Claire Weekes’ book Hope and Help for Your Nerves, an educational pamphlet centered on coping with situational anxiety, video-instructed yoga classes, and animal-assisted therapy. These resources were then proposed and accepted by the Washington County Jail. Due to the security restrictions of the Washington County Jail facility, the resources will be implemented and managed as seen fit by the staff of the Washington County Jail.

Degree Name

Masters of Science in Physician Assistant

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis

Included in

Primary Care Commons