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.