Adolescent Concepts of Responsibility in Different Types of Moral Dilemmas



The paper presents results of an empirical study of adolescents' concepts of responsibility in different types of moral dilemmas characterized by violations of moral norms. The study proved that the type of moral dilemma and the context of interaction of its participants determine the adolescents' readiness to recognize the responsibility of the main character of the dilemma for violating the norm. In dilemmas of asocial type adolescents are more willing to recognize the responsibility of the offender whose behavior leads to obvious damage for one of the participants in the interaction. As for prosocial dilemmas and dilemmas of confronting norms, adolescents tend to deny the responsibility of the offender. The paper provides a comparative analysis of empirically identified types of adolescent concepts of responsibility, including the differentiated responsibility with egoistic orientation, high responsibility, low responsibility and ‘polar’ responsibility. The authors highlight the ambiguity of the relationship between adolescents’ evaluation of behavior, their readiness to recognize responsibility in moral transgression, and their judgment about the necessity of punishment. The paper concludes with the discussion concerning the relationship between the level of development of moral judgments/moral reasoning and the concepts of responsibility in adolescents.

General Information

Keywords: responsibility, moral dilemma, punishment, moral consciousness, moral judgments, context of interaction


For citation: Molchanov S.V., Almazova O.V. Adolescent Concepts of Responsibility in Different Types of Moral Dilemmas. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2017. Vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 81–90. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2017130409. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Sergey V. Molchanov, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Department of Developmental Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Olga V. Almazova, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Developmental Psychology Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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