Following an acute myocardial infarction, evaluation of a patient's own perceptions of health, including mood state, provides useful information about the efficacy of rehabilitation when data are available for patients randomized to both control and intervention. Data are presented on the Profile of Mood States (POMS) in 187 patients, with mild to moderate scores for Spielberger state anxiety and/or Beck depression, who were randomized within 6 wk of acute myocardial infarction to usual care or to brief cardiac rehabilitation lasting 8 wk and who were followed-up during the 12 months following the acute event. Repeated measures multivariate analysis of covariance identified significant main as well as time effects in POMS scores over 12 months. Repeated measures analysis of variance over the 12 months demonstrated significant improvement for both depression and anxiety in both groups. At 8 wk, improvement was greater in the rehabilitation patients than usual care patients but only in the tension-anxiety, depression-dejection and vigor-activity dimensions of POMS and only in anxiety in those patients with above mean anxiety scores. Overall, rehabilitation and control patients showed similar and significant improvements in anxiety, depression and in mood states over the duration of the 12-month trial.