The present study aimed to clarify the cognitive and behavioral features of the process from the onset of stealing to the development of kleptomania. We also analyzed the differences between kleptomania and shoplifting for personal gain. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 25 participants (15 patients with kleptomania, 4 shoplifters, and 6 with other addictions). An analysis based on a modified grounded theory approach (M-GTA) revealed 24 concepts and 5 categories. We identified four stages of the process of kleptomania. The stages were "first theft," "increasing frequency of stealing," "pathological stealing" where the act of stealing was more beneficial than the stolen goods, followed by "automatic stealing" whenever they steal automatically in their favorite stores. We identified "breaking dependence on stealing" as the fifth category. In contrast, shoplifters for personal gain did not move into "pathological stealing." Thus, it is assumed that the development of kleptomania involves a series of processes from starting to steal to addiction, then, it is assumed to enter a dependent stage from the stage of "pathological stealing.".
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