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Jessie Dezutter

KU Leuven, Belgium
Unravelling existential suffering and its relation to depression in older adults: EXIST-well in nursing homes (CAT Program)
14 November 2022 -
18 November 2022

Jessie Dezutter is currently an Associate Research Professor at the KU Leuven, in the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences. She conducts research that sits at the boundaries of positive psychology, existential psychology, and gerontology. Her current research lines focus on how older adults can age in a meaningful and positive way, and how existential givens are related to late life mental health. She co-directs the Meaning & Existence research group (ppw.kuleuven.be/meaning-and-existence) and supervises doctoral and postdoctoral students on projects targeting meaning and existential concerns. She is an advocate for a biopsychosocial-existential approach of elderly care. Jessie Dezutter has previously held visiting research positions at Stockholm University (Sweden, 2015) and University British Columbia (Canada, 2013).

In November 2021, she joins the Paris IAS as part of the CAT program.

Research Interests

Existential givens, meaning in life, existential loneliness, frail older adults, geriatric depression, late life well-being, elderly care

The ageing of the world's population is accompanied by an increase in comorbidities and disabilities. This leads to the need for long-term care in nursing homes, which report alarming levels of depressive symptomatology. Professionals in these institutions also report existential difficulties experienced by their residents.
No studies are currently available on the subject. This interdisciplinary project therefore fills this gap by clarifying the relationship between geriatric depressive symptoms and existential concerns, with the aim to develop the psycho-educational training of nursing home care professionals.