This study determined which variables affect women's mood state during the menopausal transition by using six prospective annual assessments of a community-based sample of 354 Australian mid-aged women. Repeated measures multivariate analysis of covariance found that negative mood scores decreased significantly over time and were not related to natural menopausal transition, follicle-stimulating hormone, estradiol, inhibin, age, or education. The magnitude of negative mood was significantly predicted by baseline reporting of premenstrual complaints, negative attitudes to ageing and menopause, and parity of one. During follow-up, the magnitude of negative mood was significantly adversely affected by: prior experience of negative mood, experience of bothersome symptoms, poor self-rated health, negative feelings for partner, no partner, current smoking, low exercise, daily hassles, and high stress. Negative mood was reduced by decreasing symptoms, improving health, positive feelings for partner, gaining a partner, and reducing stress. The menopausal transition had an indirect effect in amplifying the effect of reducing paid work, poor health, and daily hassles.