Background. Responsibility as a measure of individual freedom comes only under the condition of freedom of choice and the ability to anticipate and take into account the consequences of acts. Therefore, personal factors play a key role in taking moral responsibility. Scholars have studied the personal bases of responsibility that comprises autonomy, independence, confidence, the locus of control, the motivation to achieve a goal, the level of aspiration. However, the role of the moral self and moral identity in the determination of responsibility is not sufficiently studied.
Objective. The objective of the research is to study the relationship between the moral identity of the individual and the willingness to accept moral responsibility in adolescence. Proceeding from the general hypothesis about the essential role of moral identity in adopting and actualising themoral responsibility, two specific hypotheses are articulated, specifying the role of values and moral self-esteem in taking moral responsibility.
Design. An empirical study of adolescents aged 13–17 years was conducted. Subjects are students of educational institutions of general education in Moscow (a total of 314 subjects). The study poses the challenges of studying the readiness to accept moral responsibility by adolescents in the situation of a moral dilemma, the connection of the moral and value orientation of adolescents and the willingness to accept moral responsibility, the connection of self-esteem of moral qualities and the readiness of adolescents to accept moral responsibility. The methodology for assessing moral responsibility in the situation of solving the moral dilemma «Moral Situations from Real Life» (MORS), a modified version of M. Rokich’s method for evaluating value orientations, the method of structured moral self-esteem (A.I. Podolsky, P. Heymans, O.A. Karabanova) are used.
Conclusion. The results revealed the influence of the participants’ moral dilemma and the nature of the consequences (damage or profit to the participant of the dilemma) on the adolescents’ willingness to accept moral responsibility, as well as the role of moral value orientation in the principle of care and moral self-esteem. It was revealed that the self-esteem of such moral qualities as responsibility, honesty, responsiveness, caring is higher in adolescents, showing a high willingness to accept moral responsibility in a moral dilemma. Moral identity is proved to be a desire to maintain a high positive self-esteem of moral qualities according to the accepted system of values develops the basis of the normative moral self-regulation of the individual.
Moral choice in adolescents is determined by the interaction of cognitive, emotional and personal factors that prescribe the orientation on the justice principle, or the principle of care, exercised in certain social psychological and situational conditions. Some features of the of moral dilemmas solution in L. Kohlberg’s concept of moral development and N. Eisenberg’s theory of prosocial behaviour are considered. The following types of moral choice dilemmas are identified: personal choice and decision-making within uncertain moral norms as a behaviour regulating tool; moral choice within competitive moral norms; the dilemma ofalter altruism.
Conditions and factors of solving moral dilemmas in adolescents are identified and described: the social psychological conditions (culture, socioeconomic status, family, school); individual features (moral values, moral feelings and emotions, e.g. guilt, sympathy, empathy and distress, presence of socio-cognitive conflicts in past experiences, the proximity to the victim and identifying oneself as a victim, age, sex); level of cognitive development and attribute processes (regarding prosocial behaviour of other people as «good» and identifying oneself as «good»; being aware of altruistic motives of one’s behaviour and the nature of one’s behaviour as showing care for welfare of others; adequately assessing the needs of another person for further assistance and identifying its objective necessity); situational factors and structural and content limitations of the moral dilemmas (according to the degree of involvement, either personal or social, according to the extent of meeting social expectations, i.e. antisocial, prosocial dilemmas and social pressures).