Hui Liu

Hui  Liu
  • Professor and Graduate Program Director
  • Department of Sociology
  • PhD, The University of Texas at Austin, 2008
  • 425B Berkey Hall
  • 509 E. Circle Drive
  • East Lansing, MI 48824
  • 517-353-3265


Hui Liu


Hui (Cathy) Liu is a Professor of Sociology and Director of the Family and Population Health (FPH) Laboratory at Michigan State University. Before joining MSU in 2008, she received her B.A. and M.A. in economics from Nankai University, China, her M.S. in Statistics, and Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research is broadly guided by the aging and life course perspective to study social determinants of population health. Specifically, Dr. Liu has focused on using innovative quantitative methods to develop, test, and promote scientific understanding of marriage and family processes related to population health and well-being over the life course. Her interests in marriage also extend to other “marriage-like” intimate relationships such as LGBTQ relationships and partnered sexuality, and how they are linked to population health and well-being. Dr. Liu has received several prestigious national awards including an NIH Career Award (Mentored Research Scientist Development Award). Her research has been widely reported in prominent national and international news outlets including the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, USA Today, US News and World Report, TIME, ABC News, CBS News, Los Angeles Times, Daily Mail, Sydney Morning Herald, The Times of India, China Daily and Iran Daily. 


Dr. Liu has several ongoing research projects. Her current work includes: 1) marriage links to Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (funded by NIH R01, R03); 2) LGBTQ health at the population level; 3) sexuality of older couples; and 4) health consequences of racial differences in life course exposure to death (funded by NIH R01). Dr. Liu is accepting new Ph.D. students.

Dr. Liu is currently accepting new students in the Family and Population Health (FPH) Laboratory at MSU. Contact Dr. Liu for more information.


  • 2019- Faculty Affiliate, Population Studies Center, University of Michigan
  • 2018-19 Visiting Scholar, Department of Sociology, University of Michigan



Liu, Hui, Corinne Reczek, Lindsey Wilkinson. 2020. "Marriage and Health: The Well-Being of Same-Sex Couples." Rutgers University Press. 

Liu, Hui, I-Chien Chen*, Lindsey Wilkinson, Jennifer Pearson and Yan Zhang*. 2019. “Same-sex Sexuality and Diabetes during the Transition to Adulthood.” LGBT Health6(5): 227-234.

Liu, Hui, Shannon Shen*, and Ning Hsieh. 2019. “A National Dyadic Study of Oral Sex, Relationship Quality and Well-being among Older Couples.” Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences 74(2):298-308.

Liu, Hui, Zhenmei Zhang and Seung-won Choi*. 2018. “Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases and Cancer in Later Life: The Role of Age at First Marriage.” Geriatrics 3(2).

Liu, Hui, and Lindsey Wilkinson. 2017. “Marital Status and Perceived Discrimination among Transgender People.” Journal of Marriage and Family79(5): 1295–1313. Featured in Council on Contemporary Families, Futurity, Complete World News, Science Newsline,, BRIDES, E-sv TIMES, outlookindia, MSU News, etc.

Liu, Hui, Corinne Reczek, Samuel C. H. Mindes* and Shannon Shen*. 2016. “The Health Disparities of Same-Sex Cohabitors at the Intersection of Race-Ethnicity and Gender.” Sociological Perspectives 60(3): 620-639.

Liu, Hui, Linda Waite, Shannon Shen* and Donna Wang. 2016. “Is Sex Good for Your Health? A National Study on Partnered Sexualityand Cardiovascular Risk Among Older Men and Women.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 57(3): 276–296.

Liu, Hui, Linda Waite, and Shannon Shen*. 2016. “Diabetes Risk and Disease Management in Later Life: A National Longitudinal Study of the Role of Marital Quality.” Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences 71(6): 1070–1080. Paper published with an editor invited blog

Liu, Hui and Debra Umberson. 2015. “Gender, Stress in Childhood and Adulthood, and Trajectories of Change in Body Mass.” Social Science & Medicine139: 61-69. Featured in Daily Mail, Science Daily¸ MSU News, psychcentral, Detroit Newstime, ET HealthWorld, Cosmopolitan, The New Indian Express, etc.



Selected MSU Reports on Hui Liu’s Research: