Objective: To assess the quality of positive and negative affect (mood) in an ageing European sample. Background: Mood quality has important implications for both physical and mental wellbeing. Poor quality moods are associated with deficits in the diverse areas of cognitive function, health, and social relationships. The ageing process presents a number of potential challenges to successful mood regulation that could have wider implications. Design and participants: The current study examines the quality of positive and negative affect in 387 healthy participants from three European countries. Moods were measured four times a day for 4-7 d with the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) mood scales. Measures of zinc (Zn) status were taken also. Setting: Two centres concentrated on 55-70 yr olds (Coleraine, N.Ireland, n = 93 and Clermont-Ferrand, France, n = 95), and two centres concentrated on 70-87 yr olds (Rome, Italy, n = 108, and Grenoble, France, n = 91). Results: Positive affect scores for the Centre in Rome were significantly (P < 0.01) lower than for the other three centres, and the Grenoble Centre had significantly (P < 0.05) higher scores on negative affect than the other three centres. Mood was not related to measures of zinc status (all Ps > 0.05). Conclusions: The two centres with the oldest participants showed deficits in mood quality that may have implications for broader well-being.