What Is Social and Personal Development?

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  • Written By: Angela Farrer
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2019
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Social and personal development involves a series of benchmark areas that allow people to grow and mature in a range of areas, namely educational, occupational, and interpersonal. Personal development is generally broader in scope than self-help because it encompasses improvements to someone's entire state of being rather than corrections to specific bad habits. Social development is largely concerned with a person's capacity to cultivate emotional intelligence that leads to positive relationships with others. Social and personal development is often geared towards children who are in their crucial years of growth, although various personal development seminars and social development courses are designed for adults as well.

Different types of personal development involve learning how to cultivate individual strengths and interests, as well as how to improve and maintain healthy self-esteem. People who are self-aware enough to know about their unique potential usually have increased levels of confidence and a better overall quality of life. They are also highly employable and able to contribute value to various groups in both their work places and personal lives. An additional aspect of personal development for many people is the ability to identify components of their lives that need improvement and to map out ways of achieving those objectives.


Psychology professionals who study personal and social development often agree that much of this development occurs during early- to mid-childhood. Factors that influence self-image, social skills, and emotional intelligence usually have the most impact on children during this time because their brains are still developing in many ways. These factors can include the home environment and quality of education children may experience. Dysfunction or instability in one of these areas is often one of the root causes of adult difficulties in at least one aspect of social and personal development. These kinds of development processes often evolve throughout most people's lives and continue well into adulthood.

Social and personal development is closely tied to abilities regarding interpersonal communication and relationships as well. People who are well developed in these areas are able to tailor their emotional responses to appropriate levels for various situations. They are also able to cultivate trust in other people and to anticipate their emotions and responses. The ability to work harmoniously with a range of personalities is a valued part of social development that translates into high employability. Psychologists who examine work place dynamics sometimes report that this part of social and personal development has a high value in the business world.


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Post 3

@irontoenail - Even in urban communities (perhaps especially in urban communities) there are plenty of places where a person can go to be social. There are clubs and sports teams and lessons and so on.

I agree that social and personal development probably should be emphasized more in school, but people can make the choice to develop their own skills as adults as well.

Post 2

@Fa5t3r - I actually think that social development should be emphasized more all over the world, because we're starting to have huge problems with anti-social behavior. People once lived in small, tight knit communities as a norm, and that is how humans are wired to operate.

But technology and urban development has made that kind of community less and less common and I think this is partly why depression rates are rising and young people in particular are beginning to feel more and more isolated.

Humans are social creatures, and we need an established community social structure to keep us happy.

Post 1

I never thought of school as being particularly good for social development until I graduated and started meeting people at university who had been home-schooled. Often they were better educated and better motivated than the average student who had been through high school, but they almost universally seemed to have a lot of trouble with social interaction.

This is a generalization, but I can definitely see why this might be true. A student who does a normal high school career will spend thousands of hours among their peers. They will learn how to interact with people, as well as the shared context of a generation. If you are home-schooled, even if you have regular social gatherings with other kids

, you are going to miss the majority of that kind of socialization and I'm not sure it's something you can completely make up for later in life.

I'm not saying home-schooling is bad but you are definitely sacrificing one kind of skill set for another.

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