Factors affecting growth and development-Internal & External

Factors affecting growth and development. Growth plays a very crucial role in human life. The growth and development of human beings are affecting by a variety of factors right from the beginning of life in a mother’s womb. The factors influenced by growth and development are broad categories of internal and External Factors

Factors affecting growth and development

Internal Factors

All those factors which lie within the individual are called internal factors. These factors include

  1. Heredity factors
  2. Biological or constitutional factors
  3. Intelligence
  4. Emotional Factors
  5. Social Nature

1. Heredity factors: Heredity factors play their part at the time of conception in the mother’s womb. The heredity factor contribution includes-

  • What is transferred to the offspring from its immediate parents in the form of genes and chromosomes?
  • The height, weight, colour of eyes and the skin, the characteristics of hair all these decided by the hereditary influence
  • The physical structure, nervous system and other things related to one’s constitutional make–up, body chemistry and physical development are, to a great extent, decided by heredity factors.

If the heredity contribution is satisfactory, then with minimum efforts of the environmental forces, we get satisfactory results. However, in case the hereditary contribution is quite merged, then we have to make tremendous efforts to achieve desired success in terms of a child’s satisfactory growth and development

2. Biological or constitutional factors: A child’s constitutional makeup somatic structure, physique and body chemistry influence his growth and development throughout his life. This can be sustained in the following manner-

  • A child who is physically weak or has any internal deformities cannot be expected to achieve satisfactory results in terms of his normal growth and development. He usually suffers from an illness which is not only hampering his physical growth but also affect his development in other spheres-mental, social and emotional
  • The nervous system which controls the body movement affects the growth and development of a child in cognitive spheres
  • The endocrine or ductless glands are potent factors affecting the growth and development of an individual from his birth. The chemistry of the body is governed by these glands. Each of these glands secrets its own chemical known as hormones. Ex- an imbalance in the pituitary gland may lead to an abnormal increase or decrease in height
  • Defective constitutional makeup like an ugly face, short stature and any other deformity of the body may give birth to feelings of inferiority of a child. Moreover, he may face adjustment problems in the environment and consequently may lag behind in the race of growth and development pertaining to aspects of his personality

3. Intelligence: Intelligence is the ability to learn, adjust and take up the right decision at the right time, which has a great influence on the overall growth and development of a child. It affects children’s social behaviours, moral judgement and emotional growth. It is said an intelligent person is very well controlled over his emotions and is found to carry on well with his personal and social adjustment. Thus, the physical, social, emotional, moral and language development of a child is greatly affecting and controlled by the level of his intelligence.

4. Emotional Factors: Emotional factors, e.g. emotional adjustability and maturity, play a big role in influencing a person’s overall growth and development. A child who is found to be overwhelmed by negative emotions like fear, anger, jealousy etc is adversely affected in his physical, mental, social, moral and language development.

5. Social Nature: A person’s socialization helps him in achieving adjustment and advancement in other aspects of his growth and development. He may learn from his environment, more by means of his social nature, which may prove to be a boom to him for his proper growth and development

External Factors

The factors lying outside the individual in his environment are said to be the external factors affecting growth and development. These include

  1. The environment in the womb of the mother: The amount and quality of nourishment available in the mother’s womb from the time of conception till his birth is very important in the aspects of growth and development of the child. The factors associated with this period are
  • The Physical and mental health of the mother during pregnancy
  • Single child or multiple child getting nourished in the womb
  • The quality & quantity of nutrition received by the embryo within the womb of the mother
  • Normal or abnormal delivery
  • Any damage or accident to the baby in the womb
  1. The environment available after birth: Whether a child gets from different conditions and forces of his environment after his birth, influences his growth and development in many ways. These include-
  2. Accidents and incidents in life: The growth and development are greatly affected by the good and bad incidents and accidents which happen to meet in his lifetime. Sometimes, a small injury or an incident may change the entire development course in his life. For example, if a child’s nervous system is damaged in an accident, it will hamper his mental development and in turn, it will affect his development in other spheres-social, emotional, moral and physical
  3. The quality of the physical environment, medical care and nourishment: A child’s growth and development are greatly influenced by the quality of his physical environment and medical care and nourishment available to him for his living and working. These include open space, a balanced diet, good living and working conditions and proper medical care.
  4. The quality of the facilities and opportunities provided by the social and cultural forces: What a child gets from his social and cultural environment for the growth and development of his potential, influences the entire course of his development. In a true sense, he develops and becomes what he is permitted to and desired by these social and cultural forces. A few such conditions are given below-
  • Parents and family care received by the child
  • Economic and social status of the parents and family
  • The quality of the neighbourhood and the surrounding environment
  • The quality of schooling received by the child
  • The quality of peer group relationships and the company of a child.

The growth and development is influenced by both heredity and environment. If the quality of a gene and chromosome transfers from parents to a child then we need minimum environmental efforts to achieve the maximum growth and development of a child. Family is one of the most important factors in a child’s overall growth and development in all spheres.


  1. Mangal, S. (2007). Advanced Educational Psychology (2nd ed.). New Delhi: Prentice-Hall of India private limited.
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