• biographies;
  • health portrait;
  • sense of coherence;
  • thematized

The purpose of this study was to describe the life control of members of the Kainuu Martha Organization (the Marthas), based on their written autobiographic material. The study material consisted of written thematized autobiographies of members of the organization (n = 41). The material was analysed using qualitative content analysis with concepts of the health portrait. The Marthas were classified into three groups (member, participating and leading) on the basis of their participation in Martha activities. According to the generational categorization of Roos, the member Marthas represented the Finnish generations of well-being, structural change and shortage. They did not participate actively in the Martha activities. Their feeling of life control was based on the sense life made to them. The member Marthas emphasized the meaning of family in their lives. The participating Marthas represented the generations of structural change and shortage. They participated in the Martha activities as observers or by attending the functions of their local organizations. Their feeling of life control was related to a favourable attitude towards life and concern for their human relations. The leading Marthas represented the generation of shortage and participated actively in the Martha activities. They believed in the continuity of the Martha Organization in Kainuu. They had a strong feeling of life control. This manifested as an enterprising spirit in everyday life, which included a skill to live life as it occurred. The lives of the leading Marthas were characterized by a favourable attitude, a feeling of responsibility and initiative.