|The Louvre. From Brock's Renaissance Art.|
As for the story itself, LiveScience reports that men who enjoy cultural outings, like visits to art museums or the ballet, tend to be happier with their lives than those who don't. The researchers call this "receptive culture," which is separate from "creative culture," wherein a person actually takes a hands-on approach by painting, singing, or writing.
Study author Koenraad Cuypers and his colleagues looked at data on the activities, life satisfaction, perceived health, anxiety, and depression of 50,797 adult residents of Nord-Trondelag County in central Norway. Even after controlling for income and education, participating in receptive culture has a positive effect on the wellbeing of both genders, but the effect is not equal. Cuypers says, "Men seemed to get more of a percieved health benefit from being involved in different receptive cultural activities than women did."
Since this study did not examine people's happiness over time, it can make no assertions on whether receptive culture causes happiness or if the two just happen to go together. Cuypers wants to expand the research to answer that question, and also to find out if the correlation is true in European countries other than Norway.
You can read the actual study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.