Growth and Development

Growth and Development

Most people use the term growth and development interchangeably but it is not correct. Both terms have different meanings.  


Growth is a change in any part of a body. It is a physical process. For example- an increase in height and weight, and an increase in the size of hands, legs, fingers etc are all growth processes.

Human Growth (photo- Monroe School District)

Growth is measurable. It is fast during early ages but gets gradually gets decreases with time and age.

Definitions of growth-

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, growth is defined as “an increase in size or the amount of an entity”. It means growth is a structural and physiological change that occurs in an individual during the process of maturation.

According to Hurlock, Growth is “a change in size, in proportion, the disappearance of old features and acquisition of new ones”.

According to Crow and Crow, ”Growth refers to structural and physiological changes”.


Development is a wider concept than growth. It occurs from the birth to the death of an individual. It is a continuous process throughout life. It includes physical, mental, and social development etc.

Development (photo- Research leap)

Development helps the individual in attaining new capabilities. The development changes cannot be measured quantitatively but can be accessed through experiences and observations.

Definitions of development- 

According to Webster’s dictionary, Development is defined as “the series of changes which an organism undergoes in passing from an embryonic stage to maturity”.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, development is defined as “the progressive change in size, shape and function during the life of an organism by which genetic potential are translated into functioning adult system”.

According to J. E. Anderson, “development is concerned with growth as well as those changes in behaviour which results from environmental situations”.

Difference between growth and development


  • Quantitative (size, length, height, weight etc.)
  • Narrow
  • Directly observable and measurable
  • A smaller part of the development
  • When maturity is attained growth stops
  • Not as complex as the development
  • Related to a particular aspect of a person
  • Objective in nature
  • Change can be multidirectional
  • Can be positive or negative (eg. Weight)
  • Not affected by learning and other social factors
  • Structural change


  • Qualitative (moral, spiritual, physical, social etc.)
  • Broad
  • More comprehensive and wide
  • Not directly observable and measurable
  • Continues throughout life
  • Complex process
  • Subjective in nature
  • Change can be unidirectional
  • Can only be positive
  • Affected by learning and other social factors
  • Structural as well as functional change
  • Overall development

Principles of growth and development

There are 8 principles of development:

Principle of Change 

The universe tends to change. It is non-avoidable and we have to accept the change that occurs with time for development.

Principle of Predictability 

The physical, as well as mental changes in development, can be predicted through observations and psychological tests.

Principle of Interaction between Heredity and Environment

Development is influenced by both heredity as well as the environment and both are important for the growth and development of an individual.

Principle of Continuity

This states that development is a continuous process throughout the life of an individual. It starts with the formation of a child and ends with death.

Principle of Sequential

Development occurs in a particular pattern. For example, a child crawls before he walks.

Principle of Individual Differences

This states that the development process is different in different individuals. There is no fixed rate of development. For example, we know that every child will speak but the time they speak vary among different child.

Principle of Maturation

With maturation, a person attains knowledge and acquires new capabilities.

Principle of Traits Co-relation

This suggests that if a person is mentally developed above average is also good in other aspects such as health, social life and general aptitude.

Read more:

Also read:

What are bio materials and its importance?


  1. I think this is among the most important info for me.
    And i’m glad reading your article. But want to remark on few general things,
    The website style is wonderful, the articles is really excellent : D.
    Good job, cheers

  2. It is appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it
    is time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you few interesting
    things or suggestions. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article.

    I want to read even more things about it!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here