Meaning and Differences between growth and development: “Growth” and “development” are two terms which are synonymous but not conterminous, in that they are similar to each other, but can’t be used interchangeably in place of one another due to their different meaning.
While many assume Growth and Development to be the same as they both follow certain patterns and rules, there is a significant difference which exists between them. This article examines the meaning of these two terms Growth and Development, highlighting these significant differences which exist between them.
Meaning of Growth
Growth is a permanent and irreversible increase in the size of an organ or individual cell. That is to say that Growth involves the development of a person in age, height, weight, structure, et cetera.
In Psychology, growth is a quantitative physical change which occurs in life. The rate of growth is usually faster until one attains maturity, after which growth is gradual and slows down. An example of growth is the increase in the height and weight of an infant till the point of maturation.
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Meaning of Development
While growth involves the increase in size or physical features, the entire process and phenomena whereby a person grows physically, physiologically and evolves to attain mental growth and maturity is collectively referred to as Development. According to Wiktionary, the term was first used in 1756 and was derived from the French développement.
Development is the growth process wherein a person develops in relation to physical, social, and environmental factors. According to psychologists, Development is the physical, cognitive and psychosocial development of humans throughout their life span. An example of development is the changes in behavioural pattern, maturation, thinking, and adaption of a person to his or her environment.
It seems as though the aforementioned definition of Growth and Development does not do justice to the difference which exist between them. For clarity, let’s therefore consider the differences between Growth and Development.
Differences between growth and development
1) Growth refers to physical changes in living things, while Development refers to the overall changes in living things.
2) Growth is quantitative, while Development is qualitative. That’s to say that Growth is associated with measurable changes such as height and weight. While Development is associated with non-measurable changes such as increase in IQ, changes in behavioural pattern, amongst others.
3) Growth is structural whereas Development is functional. This means that in Growth, we see some changes in the structure of the organism due to growth, while in Development; we do not notice any visible changes in an organism due to development.
4) Growth is limited to certain level. For example, there is a point wherein an individual’s height stops increasing. Development on the other hand is continuous as everyday a person is developing in terms of his or her habits, maturity level, IQ, et cetera. Thus, while Growth takes place within a limited scope of time, Development takes place within a vast scope of time.
5) Growth depends on cellular changes while Development is dependent on organizational growth. For example, a Child could develop habits and pattern of behavior from his organizational growth in his environment.
6) Culture and Environment plays a major role in Development whereas it plays no role in Growth, as Growth depends on hereditary and nutritional factors.
7) Growth is a physical growth which can be noticed on an individual from one stage to another, while Development on the other hand, is considered a gradual change in skill set, habits, and behavior of an individual.
8) Growth is an external process; while Development is an internal process as unlike growth, Development is not visible by the naked eyes instead it requires comprehensive evaluation of your Child’s reasoning, creativity, and innovation so as to ascertain their development.
9) Growth focuses on one aspect while Development focuses on various aspects such as inter-personal skills, intelligence, et cetera.
10) Growth is influenced by Development, while Development is not dependent on growth, and as such occurs without growth.
11) Growth involves body changes, while Development involves changes from origin to maturity.
12) Growth involves the increase in Size and structure, while Development encompasses overall changes including growth and other progressive changes.
13) Development dictates changes in the character of an individual, while Growth may only dictate changes in the physical appearance of an individual.
14) Growth is associated with progressive physical change from one stage to another, while Development on the other hand is associated with the gradual transformation of behavioural and skill-set changes.
In conclusion, it is understandable to use the term Growth and Development interchangeably, but I trust after reading this article, you now understand the difference which exist between Growth and Development, the fact they don’t have the same meaning and therefore shouldn’t be used interchangeably next time.