Difference Between Growth and Development

Therefore, in the wider sense, both the terms growth and development can be used for any change brought about by maturation and learning and

Meaning and Definition of Growth

Growth means increase in size, height and weight of child. It implies growth of heart, brain, muscles and body in general. It can be easily observed and measured. It is generally confined to quantitative changes.

Difference Between Growth and Development

According to Frank, "Growth refers to the increase in cells, such as increase in length and weight."

Meaning and Definition of Development

Development refers to the qualitative changes in the organism as whole. Development is a continuous process through which physical, emotional and intellectual changes occur. It is a more wider and comprehensive term than growth. It is also possible without growth.

According to Harold Stevenson, “Development psychology is concerned with the study to changes in behavior through the life span”.

Generally the terms growth and development are used interchangeably and takes as synonymous terms. Both relate to the measurement of changes which occur in the individual after conception in the womb of the mother. Changes is the law of nature. An individual starting from a fertilized egg, turns into a fall-fledged human adult. In this turn-over process he undergoes a cycle of changes brought about by the process of growth and development in various dimensions physical, mental, social, emotional etc.

Difference Between Growth and Development

Therefore, in the wider sense, both the terms growth and development can be used for any change brought about by maturation and learning and essentially is the product of both heredity and environment. In the strict sense of terminology, these two terms have different meanings that can be put in the way given ahead.

S.No. Growth Development
Growth is one of the part of developmental process. In strict sense, development in its quantitative aspect is termed as growth. Development is a wider and comprehensive term. It refers to overall changes in the individual. Growth is one of its parts.
The term growth is used in purely physical sense. It generally refers to an increase in size, length, height and weight. Changes in the quantitative aspects come into the domain of growth. Development implies overall changes in shape, form or structure resulting in improved working or functioning. It indicates the changes in the quality or character rather than in quantitative aspects.
Growth may or may not bring development. A child may grow (in terms of weight) by becoming fat but this growth may not bring any functional improvement (qualitative change) or development. Development is also possible without growth as we see in the cases of some children that they do not gain in terms of height, weight or size but they do experience functional improvement or development in physical, social, emotional or intellectual aspects.
Growth does not continue throughout life. It stops when maturity has been attained. Development is a continuous process. It goes from womb to tomb. It does not end with the attainment of maturity. The changes, however small they may be, continue throughout the life span of an individual.
Growth may be referred to describe the changes which take place in particular aspects of the body and behaviour of an organism. Development describes the changes in the organism as a whole and does not list the changes in parts.
The changes produced by growth are the subject of measurement. They may be quantified and are observable in nature. Development, as said earlier, implies improvement in functioning and behaviour and hence brings qualitative changes which are difficult to be measured directly.
Growth is an external process. Development is an internal process.
Growth is influenced by development. Development is not dependent upon growth.

Hence observed in minute details, both growth and development show differentiation. But in wider and practical sense both terms are used to denote the changes in the organism's physical as well as functional behaviour. These changes which cover physical, emotional, intellectual and social aspects of a human life are roughly divided into four major classes by Mrs. Hurlock.

  1. Changes in size
  2. Changes in proportion
  3. Disappearance of old features
  4. Acquisition of new features.

All these types of changes have qualitative as well as quantitative aspects and hence generally, growth and development go hand in hand. And it is in this sense, that the two terms are to be used collectively. Both, taken together, explain the total changes functional as well as constitutional changes in the body and behaviour of the individual with the lapse of time after the conception. In this text, in the following pages, these terms will be used in synonymous sense of convenience.

Factors Influencing Growth and Development

Right from the conception, the beginning of life in the womb of the mother, the growth and development of the human beings is influenced by a variety of factors categorized broadly as internal and external.

1. Heredity Factors:- Heredity factors play their part at the time of the conception of the child in the womb of the mother. This contribution is the real starting point and base of all the growth and development that take place later in the life of the child. It is like a starting capital for one's later earning from the environmental opportunities or a base for the structure of one's total personality. The height, weight, colour of the eyes, colour of the skin, the characteristics, of the hair, etc. are just decided by these hereditary influences.

The physical structure, nervous system and other things related with one's constitutional make-up, body chemistry and physical development are to a great extent, decided by the hereditary factors. Hereditary factors infact as emphasized earlier, lay the foundation and it is the quality of this foundation which is helpful in the future growth and development. In case hereditary contribution is quite meager than we have to make tremendous efforts for achieving the desired success in terms of the children's satisfactory growth and development.

2. Gender:- The gender of the child is a very common but important factor affecting the physical growth and development of a child. The growth pattern of girls and boys is quite different like boys tend to be taller and physically stronger than girls on the other hand girls tend to mature faster during their adolescence than the boys.

3. Hormones:- You must be knowing that hormones belong to the endocrine system and influence the various functions of our bodies. Hormones secreted from different glands that are situated in specific parts of our body and control many of our body functions.The proper functioning of these hormones plays a major role in the normal physical growth and development of the children. If these hormone-secreting glands cannot function properly, children may suffer from growth defects, obesity, behavioral problems, and some other diseases.

4. Nutrition:- Growth and development is also highly depend ed upon nutrition. A proper balanced diet and nutrition leads to normal growth of a child. Thus availability of healthy diet like protein, vitamins, amino acid, zinc, calcium etc plays a major role in the development and growth of a child.

5. Intelligence:- Intelligence, as a ability to learn, adjust and take the right decision at the right time has a significant correlation with the overall growth and development of the children. It affects the social behaviour, moral judgement and emotional make up. An intelligent person is said to exercise reasonable control over his emotions, and is found to carry on well with his personal and social adjustment. In this way, physical, social, emotional, moral and language development of the child is greatly influenced and controlled by the level of his intelligence. We can't expect problem solving behaviour, creative, imaginative and inventive venture from a child having sub-normal at intelligence.

6. Emotional Factors:- Emotional factors like emotional adjustability and maturity play a big role in influencing one's overall growth and development. The children who are found to be overwhelmed with negative emotions like fear, anger, jealously etc. are adversely affected in terms of their normal physical, mental, social, moral and language development. If one can't exercise a reasonable control over his emotions, he is sure to suffer in terms of his growth and development. He will have to face difficulty in his social adjustment. He may find himself failure in doing some serious mental activity. He may spoil his physical and mental health on account of his bad temperament and abnormal emotional outburst.

7. Social Factors:- One's socialisation helps him in achieving adjustment and advancement in other aspects of his growth and development. He may learn from his environment more on account of his social nature and it may prove a boon to him for his proper growth and development.

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