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Jessie completed her Master in Psychology at KU Leuven in 2002, including an Erasmus stay at the University of Nijmegen. She obtained a European Diploma in Advanced Studies in the Psychology of Religion in 2003 (KU Leuven), and her Ph.D in Psychology in 2010 (KU Leuven). She was a post-doctoral fellow of the Flanders Research Foundation (FWO fellow) and joined the lab of Prof. DeLongis at University British Columbia – Canada (3 months, 2013) and the lab of Prof. Granqvist at Stockholm University – Sweden (6 months, 2015). Her research has been recognized with the Margaret Gorman Early Career Award of the APA and the Early Career Award of the International Association for the Psychology of Religion. She has been Associate Editor for the Archive for the Psychology of Religion.

Her current research lines focus on how meaningfulness is related to late life psychological functioning and mental health, how existential givens are experienced at highly advanced age and whether and how existential struggles are related to psychological suffering. She is an advocate for a biopsychosocial-existential approach to elderly care.


Jessie is a first-generation college student.

Prof. dr. Jessie Dezutter


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Laura Dewitte

Meaning & well-being in dementia

PhD students


Julie Vissers

Geriatric depression &
existential suffering

Tine Schellekens

Grace as psychological experience

Judith Appel

Tiredness of life & existential anxiety

Research assistant


Mar Gil Alvarez

Affiliated Researchers

Collaborating researchers

Prof. dr. Siebrecht Vanhooren (Clinical Psychology - KU Leuven)

Prof. dr. Annemie Dillen (Empirical Theology - KU Leuven)

Prof. dr. Mathieu Vandenbulcke (Geriatrics and Dementia - KU Leuven)

Prof. dr. Els van Wijngaarden (Care Ethics - University for Humanistic Studies)

Prof. dr. Loren Toussaint (Forgiveness - Luther College)

Prof. dr. Patrick L. Hill (Purpose and Aging - Washington University in St. Louis)

Prof. dr. Gørill Haugan (Nursing - NTNU)

Dr. Suvi-Maria Saarelainen (Practical Theology - University of Eastern Finland)

Dr. Ingela Beck (Nursing and Health Sciences - Kristianstad University)

Helena Larsson (Care Sciences - Kristianstad University)

Eva Buelens (Pastoral Theology - KU Leuven)

Lindsy Desmet (Pastoral Theology - KU Leuven)


Lab Alumni

Nadejda Golovchanova (2017 - 2018) - Currently PhD student at Örebro University Sweden

Evalyne Thauvoye (2015 - 2019)

Internship trainees

Ben Mues (2020)

Emma Emmerechts (2020)

Louise De Schutter (2020)

Sophie Gouwy (2019)

Guido Doornberg (2018 - 2019)

Lotte Van Looy (2016 - 2017)

Stephanie Hallard (2017)

Hannes Beyens (2017)

Kimberley Bruggeman (2016)