“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.
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.