Often, women who experience socioeconomic disadvantage are particularly deeply immersed within their social networks, and minority women have been shown to be most involved in social networks. While social engagement is expected to be positively associated with health, this research investigates how this relationship may be altered across socioeconomic and racial-ethnic group. The findings suggest negative health consequences flowing from the cumulative nature of stress associated with disadvantaged work and family roles. Provision of support may contribute to women becoming stressed and overburdened, and compound health risk already present due to economic hardship. A paradox of social relationships seems to exist, where social involvement is beneficial for some, but increases illness for others. Certain types of social relations do provide health benefits for older women, but for some women relationships with family and friends are detrimental to health. This research on a nationally representative sample of retirement-age women challenges existing notions of social capital and health.