Prime Theory Of Motivation
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how might coping skills training exert its effect in terms of the prime theory model?
A very nice question. If we think of coping skills as involving enacting of plans to think about things in particular ways and take actions designed to mitigate adverse emotional states, the skills training would involve establishing the most effective kinds of plans, practising enactment of those plans so that they are triggered more readily and are more efficient in generating the appropriate thoughts and actions, and using feedback to improve on these skills. So in essence the training is about enhancing the process of plan formation and enactment relating to thoughts and actions that address emotional discomfort. 
the coping skills literature suggests some forms of coping are more/less effective than others, such as cognitive avoidance coping predicting worse outcomes, and behavioural approach coping predicting better outcomes. How might PRIME theory account for this?
PRIME Theory leads us to be specific about the outcome measure we are interested in. Terms such as 'stress' are too vague, for example. But the reason why some forms of coping might generally serve better than others go beyond PRIME Theory into what might be called the 'pragmatics' of emotional regulation. We do not have direct control over our emotions but, like the rider in the 'rider and elephant analogy', we have to do things that can indirectly affect them. If we have a way of removing the cause of worry or depression, then pragmatically that must be more likely to work, other things being equal. That is what active problem focused coping seeks to do. However, removing the cause means dealing with it, not pretending it isn't there. If we cannot do that we can only change the way we react to the source of the worry or depression. Trying just to suppress thoughts and feelings turns out to be inefficient so our mental coping regimen needs to follow well worn paths of distraction, cognitive reframing etc. How well each of these will work in a given situation for a given individual will depend on a host of number of factors that can in principle be measured.  
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