An association between circadian clock function and mood regulation is well established and has been proposed as a factor in the development of mood disorders. Patients with depression or mania suffer disturbed sleep–wake cycles and altered rhythms in daily activities. Environmentally disrupted circadian rhythms increase the risk of mood disorders in the general population. However, proof that a disturbance of circadian rhythms is causally involved in the development of psychiatric disorders remains elusive. Using clock gene mutants, manipulations of sleep–wake and light–dark cycles, and brain lesions affecting clock function, animal models have been developed to investigate whether circadian rhythm disruptions alter mood. In this review, selected animal models are examined to address the issue of causality between circadian rhythms and affective behavior.