This study tested and compared three sequential interpretations of Beck's cognitive model of the development of depression (1996). The causal mediational interpretation identifies dysfunctional attitudes as most distal to depressive symptoms, followed by cognitive distortions, the cognitive triad, and negative automatic thoughts, with each construct successively more proximal to depressive symptoms. By contrast, the symptom model reverses the causal chain with negative automatic thoughts as the most proximal consequence and dysfunctional attitudes as the most distal consequence of depression. The bidirectional model merges both interpretations into one model. Previous studies on sequential interpretations of Beck's model have not included cognitive distortions or the cognitive triad and did not test the bidirectional model finding contradictory empirical evidence for the sequential order.